Canada’s TikTok ban on government-issued devices comes into effect today

FILE – The TikTok logo is seen on a cell phone on Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston. Canada is banning TikTok from all government-issued mobile devices and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it might be a first step to further action. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)


As of today, federal employees can no longer have the popular video-sharing social media app TikTok on their government-issued mobile devices.

According to the Chief Information Officer of Canada, the chinese-owned application “presents an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security.”

On Monday, Canada announced TikTok would be removed from all government-issued mobile phones and blocked from use by future officials as of Feb. 28. 

The president of the Treasury Board, Mona Fortier, says the decision to remove and block TikTok was taken as a precautionary measure. 

“Particularly given concerns about the legal regime that governs the information collected from mobile devices, and is in line with the approach of our international partners,” she said in a statement. 

Fortier added that “TikTok’s data collection methods provide considerable access to the contents of the phone.”

In the statement, she explained that at this point the government has no evidence information has been compromised but doubled down that the risks of using the app are clear. 

TikTok Canada says it’s unsure about the government’s decision and is open to discussing ways to protect Canadian users. 

“It’s curious that the Government of Canada has moved to block TikTok on government-issued devices, without citing any specific security concern or contacting us with questions, only after similar bans were introduced in the EU and the U.S,” a TikTok spokesperson told Now Toronto in an email. 

“We are always available to meet with our government officials to discuss how we protect the privacy and security of Canadians, but singling out TikTok in this way does nothing to achieve that shared goal. All it does is prevent officials from reaching the public on a platform loved by millions of Canadians.” 

The Canadian government leaves the decision for the public to use TikTok at their own discretion, however the Communications Security Establishment’s Canadian Centre for Cyber Security recommends that “Canadians understand the risks and make an informed choice on their own before deciding what tools to use.”

“We always need to think about how our data is being collected, used and disclosed. I think that unfortunately, many users out there are either digitally illiterate, or have kind of resigned to the fact that they don’t have much of a choice if they want to use certain platforms,” Sharon Bauer, privacy strategist and founder at Bamboo Data Consulting, told Now Toronto. 

“Because of their resignation, and their fatigue, of consent and reading privacy policies. They go ahead, they use them without really thinking twice about how third parties are using their data, potentially to their own detriment,” she continued.

Bauer suggests that all social media users, not just the government, should be careful while using all digital platforms.

Canada’s decision comes after both the U.S. and the European Union  recently banned government employees from using TikTok on work-issued devices.

Bauer believes the Canadian government followed the lead of other countries in their decision. 

“I think that we’re seeing the rest of the world including Europe and more recently, the U.S taking a very strong position around the ban of TikTok with government devices. And I think that there was definitely some pressure on Canada to do the same.”

“The Chinese Communist Party can compel businesses in control of data to share their information with the Chinese government. So of course, there is a concern that either personal information or even some security vulnerabilities will be shared with the Chinese government, which will then be used in multiple different ways that can impact our jurisdiction,” she continued.

The Ontario government has not said if it will also ban the app on work-issued devices. 



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