Pressure mounts for TikTok as more countries express security fears

Popular video platform has come under rising scrutiny across the world over concerns the app may give Chinese authorities access to sensitive user data

Amid fears that data collected by tTikTok may be breached by China, government and officials in Europe and US imposed similar restrictions on its employees.

Popular social video platform TikTok continues to face mounting pressure across the world as concerns about its security breaches spread rapidly. The latest attack on its global dominance comes from Czech cyber watchdog which today issued a warning about using TikTok, adding to the chorus from other Western authorities who have cited the Chinese-owned video-sharing app a security threat.

TikTok has come under rising scrutiny across the world over concerns the app may give Chinese authorities access to sensitive user data. The Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NUKIB) warned that TikTok could pose a threat if installed on “devices accessing critical information and communication infrastructure”.

“The Agency is concerned about a potential security threat stemming from the use of TikTok primarily due to the amount of user data that is collected by the app as well as the way the data is handled,” it said.

The NUKIB added that it was concerned because TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, “falls under the legal jurisdiction of the People’s Republic of China”. In the US, legislators have introduced a bill to ban the app. US government workers have already been stopped from installing the app on their devices.

This week, the Biden administration gave all government agency staff 30 days to delete TikTok from federal devices and systems over data security concerns. The White House directive came after the US. Congress officially banned the app on all federal government devices in December.

TikTok, owned by the larger tech company Bytedance, has long maintained that it does not and will not share data with the Chinese government and that its data is not held in China. The company has also dispelled accusations that it collects more user data than other social media companies and insists that it’s run independently.

Despite the several assurances from TikTok executives that the firm will not do so, US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said the ruling Communist Party requires companies doing business in China to provide access to their data.

Public workers in the European Union, Canada and Denmark are also prohibited from having TikTok on their phones. The Czech government, while part of the EU, has not introduced a ban so far. In a report published last year, the Czech national intelligence agency BIS singled China out as a major threat targeting Czech cyberspace.

“Chinese technologies penetrating important networks of state infrastructures… can be evaluated as a major security threat,” it said.


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