European Commission bans TikTok from corporate devices
The EU executive’s IT service has asked all Commission employees to uninstall TikTok from their corporate devices, as well as the personal devices using corporate apps, citing data protection concerns.
The request to uninstall the Chinese-owned social media app was communicated via email to EU officials on Thursday morning (23 February).
“To protect the Commission’s data and increase its cybersecurity, the EC [European Commission] Corporate Management Board has decided to suspend the TikTok application on corporate devices and personal devices enrolled in the Commission mobile device services,” said the email, seen by EURACTIV.
Staffers were asked to do so as soon as possible and no later than 15 March. For those who do not comply by the set deadline, the corporate apps like the Commission email and Skype for Business will no longer be available.
The measure, justified on the grounds of data protection concerns related to the app, is aimed at protecting Commission data and systems from potential cybersecurity threats.
“We are disappointed with this decision, which we believe to be misguided and based on fundamental misconceptions. We have contacted the Commission to set the record straight and explain how we protect the data of the 125 million people across the EU who come to TikTok every month,” a TikTok spokesperson told EURACTIV.
Last November, TikTok admitted that the personal data of users worldwide could be accessed in the Chinese headquarters. The admission followed revelations from Forbes that the app was being used to spy on journalists.
TikTok has recently been banned on government devices in the United States at the state and federal levels. Although no European government has followed the US example, Dutch officials were reportedly advised against using the Chinese app.
Last month, TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew met with top EU officials, who told him the company had a long way to go to regain their trust.
TikTok CEO meets EU top officials amid growing privacy concerns
European Commissioners warned TikTok’s CEO on Tuesday (10 January) that the company needs to regain their trust following revelations it transmitted sensitive data to China.