Ontario May Ban TikTok on Government-issued Mobiles Following Federal Government’s Lead

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Following the federal government’s decision to ban TikTok on all government-issued mobile devices over security concerns, Ontario is reviewing whether it should do the same. Ontario’s review follows Quebec’s decision of banning the installation and use of TikTok on government mobile devices.

On February 27, Treasury Board President Mona Fortier announced through a statement that the use of the Chinese app TikTok will be banned for all government-issued mobile devices. The app will be removed from said devices because it poses a security risk. “Following a review of TikTok, the Chief Information Officer of Canada determined that it presents an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security,” Fortier said.

Now, Ontario is also reviewing whether it should do the same, according to a spokesperson from the Premier’s Office. As per a note obtained by CTV, “a review of the mobile application’s behavior…found that TikTok’s data collection methods may leave users vulnerable to cyber-attacks.”

After the federal government announced its decision, TikTok put out a statement that said, “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.” It added that the government did not reach out with any questions.

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According to media reports, Quebec has also committed to banning the installation and use of TikTok on government mobile devices. It did, however, state that there is no evidence of a foreign country spying through the application, but security remains a top priority.

As of now, it is unclear if Ontario will ban the use of the app for government-issued mobile devices.

Interim party Leader John Fraser said, “I think we have to be very conscious of social media and if there are risks to our security. With all the things that are going on right now we have to be conscious of who has access to our devices, and who we’re allowing to have access to our devices.”

Canada’s decision to ban TikTok on government-issued mobiles comes after the European Commission’s decision to outright ban the use of the app on its work phones including personal devices that are part of the “mobile device service.” Furthermore, the United States is also considering banning TikTok amid fears of it potentially being used to spy on Americans and censor content.

Vineet Washington

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