Ireland is the next country to ban TikTok
According to a report by The Irish Times, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has instructed employees of government departments and agencies to remove TikTok from their work-related devices following a thorough risk analysis.
The evaluation conducted by the NCSC relied heavily on the experiences of the European Commission, the European Union, the UK, and other organizations, and was in line with procedures in other countries.
The NCSC's decision was based on data protection and privacy concerns related to TikTok's relationship with the Chinese government. Several countries, notably the UK and the Netherlands, have already banned the use of the social networking app on government computers due to these concerns.
The Irish Times has reported that the use of TikTok is no longer permitted under the Acceptable Usage Policy for Irish State employees. On Friday, parent departments and staff members were notified of the instructions, which The Irish Times obtained. They were directed to remove the Chinese-owned social media app from any devices where it was already installed, and to refrain from installing it altogether.
A spokesperson for the Department of Communications, which oversees the NCSC, stated that the ban applies to all departments, agencies, and government entities falling under their jurisdiction, except in "exceptional cases where there is a business need," as reported by The Irish Times.
"This recommendation was informed by a detailed risk assessment carried out by the NCSC, and extensive engagement with relevant stakeholders, including the Data Protection Commission (DPC), the European Commission and other Member States,” the spokesperson added.
The Department of Communications views the ban on TikTok as a complementary measure to the 2021 Cyber Security Baseline Standards Framework. The framework is designed to enhance the security and resilience of public sector ICT systems, The Irish Times reported.
Industry analysts were not entirely surprised by the decision, given that the European Commission and the United States have implemented similar bans due to privacy concerns. These two countries have expressed reservations about the app's relationship with the Chinese government, which has led to questions about data protection and privacy.
"The primary concern they have is that TikTok may be forced by the Chinese Government to hand over data from their user base and if some of them are Government employees that may enable the Chinese Government to do espionage or surveillance on those people,” stated Chief Executive of BH Consulting, which specialises in cybersecurity and data protection, Brian Honan said.
Are Western countries facing threats from China?
Friday's ban on TikTok is indicative of the increasing unease regarding China and related security concerns. In February 2017, the European Commission directed its workforce to immediately uninstall any commission-related apps from all personal and work-related devices. Apps such as Skype for Business and the commission's internal email were also set to be removed from devices that continue to use TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, starting in mid-March.
TikTok responded to the commission's ruling by expressing disappointment, stating that it believes the decision is misguided and based on misconceptions, as reported by The Irish Times. Despite the company's assurances that it will not grant the Chinese government access to user data, there remain widespread concerns amid rising geopolitical tensions.
As a result, countries such as the UK and the Netherlands have already banned the use of TikTok on government computers due to data protection and privacy concerns related to the company's ties to the Chinese government.Advertisement
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