After government workers were instructed to delete the video app TikTok from government-issued phones, China has charged that the US overreacted.
The Chinese-owned software must not be installed on government devices by employees, the White House told government agencies on Monday. The EU and Canada recently took similar actions.
The popular video-sharing software, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, has recently drawn the attention of Western officials, who are now more worried than ever. Australia claimed that its spy agencies had not given it any advice encouraging it to imitate the US, the EU, or Canada’s policies.
The Chinese government has been accused of collecting user data from TikTok and giving it to them, and some intelligence services are concerned that if the app is put on official devices, confidential material may be disclosed.
The business maintains that it runs exactly the same way as other social media companies and that it would never submit to a request to transfer data.
In order to preserve sensitive data, US Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young ordered agencies to remove the app from all government phones on Monday.
According to the agency, the recommendations represent “a crucial step forward in addressing the threats presented by the app to sensitive government data.”
TikTok has already been blocked from the devices of some federal agencies, including the White House, the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State.
Beginning on Tuesday, Canada will also impose a new restriction on the app on smartphones used by the government. The software offered “an intolerable level of risk to privacy and security,” the chief information officer of the nation said after reviewing it.
The modification was necessary, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, because of the level of security concerns surrounding the app.
Following the European Commission’s decision from last week, the European Parliament also authorised a ban on the app on employee phones.
The prohibitions, according to a representative for TikTok, were decided “without any discussion” and amounted to “nothing more than political posturing,” the spokesperson told the BBC.