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Ottawa Bans Civil Servants From Using TikTok On Government Phones

Following the lead of the U.S. and several European countries, the Government of Canada has banned civil servants from using the Chinese social media app TikTok on government-issued cell phones.

The TikTok social media app, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, will be automatically removed from all federal government cell phones, and blocked permanently due to security concerns around data collection, said the government in a memo that was obtained by the media.

“A review of the mobile application’s behavior in relation to the Policy on Service and Digital found that TikTok’s data collection methods may leave users vulnerable to cyber attacks,” reads the memo to government workers.

Canada’s ban follows similar moves by the U.S. government and European Commission, each of which has expressed concerns about TikTok’s Chinese ownership and fears that government officials in Beijing could force the company to share its user data.

The outright ban on TikTok from government phones also comes a week after privacy regulators in Canada announced that they are investigating TikTok over its collection, use and disclosure of personal information and data.

That investigation into TikTok will also determine if ByteDance is meeting transparency obligations under Canadian law when collecting people’s personal information.

ByteDance is privately held, and its stock is not traded on public markets. By some estimations, TikTok, which allows users to view short form videos, is the most popular app in the world with more than one billion daily active users.