The EU bans TikTok from the official devices of the three government institutions | CNN Business

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The European Parliament banned TikTok from staff devices on Tuesday over cybersecurity concerns, meaning the Chinese video-sharing app is now banned from all three main EU institutions.

“Given cyber security concerns, in particular with regard to data protection and data collection by third parties, the European Parliament has decided, in line with other institutions, to suspend from 20 March 2023, the “use of the TikTok mobile app on corporate devices,” he said in a statement.

The parliament also “strongly recommends” that its members and staff remove TikTok from their personal devices.

TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, told CNN that “it is disappointing to see other government bodies and institutions banning TikTok from employees’ devices without deliberation or evidence.”

“These bans are based on basic misinformation about our company, and we are available to meet with officials to clarify our ownership structure and our commitment to data privacy and security. We share a common goal with governments who are concerned about user privacy, but these bans are misguided and do nothing to increase privacy or security,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

“We appreciate that some governments have wisely decided not to implement these bans due to a lack of evidence that there is such a need.”

Last week, the European Commission announced it was banning TikTok from official devices, citing cybersecurity concerns.

A senior EU official at the European Council told CNN that the General Secretariat of the Council, the Brussels-based body that assists the permanent representatives of the 27 EU countries, “is in the process of implementing similar measures to those adopted by the Commission.”

“It will uninstall the app on corporate devices and ask staff to uninstall it from personal mobile devices that have access to corporate services,” the official added. “The Secretariat continuously keeps its cybersecurity measures under review in close cooperation with the other EU institutions.”

The European Commission said last week that its decision to ban TikTok only applies to devices overseen by the EU executive.

“This measure aims to protect the Commission against cyber security threats and actions that could be leveraged for cyber attacks against the Commission’s corporate environment,” he said in a statement.

A TikTok spokesperson told CNN in a statement at the time it had contacted the commission to “set things straight and explain how we protect the data of the 125 million people across the EU who come to TikTok every month”.

TikTok had previously disclosed to European users that employees in China can access the data of EU users. The company also recently announced plans to open two new data centers in Europe.

TikTok faces similar scrutiny across the Atlantic.

On Monday, the White House ordered federal agencies to remove TikTok from all government-issued devices within 30 days, with few exceptions.

The move added to growing US efforts to crack down on enforcement amid renewed security concerns.

US officials have expressed concern that the Chinese government could pressure ByteDance to hand over information collected from users that could be used for intelligence or disinformation purposes. As CNN previously reported, independent security experts have said this type of access is a possibility, although no incidents of such access have been reported so far.

Brooke Oberwetter, a spokesperson for TikTok, called the ban “little more than political theater.”

“TikTok’s ban on federal devices was passed in December without any deliberation, and unfortunately, this approach has served as a model for other governments around the world,” Oberwetter said in a statement.

“We hope that when it comes to addressing national security concerns about TikTok beyond government devices, Congress will explore solutions that do not have the effect of censoring the voices of millions of Americans.”

China also responded to the decision on Tuesday, with a Foreign Ministry spokesman accusing Washington of “creating the concept of national security” and “unreasonably suppressing other countries’ businesses.”

The Canadian government announced a similar ban of TikTok from official electronic devices on Monday.

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