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The European Commission banned the use of TikTok on its official phones and devices

The TikTok logo on the screen of a cell phone (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

The European Comission on Thursday banned the use of TikTok on official devices used by its staff, at a time when the EU is trying to strengthen its cybersecurity and following a similar measure taken by the United States Congress.

TikTokwhose parent company is China, bytedancehas faced in recent months a growing scrutiny West for fear of Chinese regime access to user data.

The new ban also means that staff at the European Comission you cannot use the application for share videos on your personal devices, including phones with official EU communication apps installed.

Employees should remove the app as soon as possible and must do so by March 15.

After the news was made public, the EU Industry Commissioner, Thierry Bretonpointed out the risks of cybersecurity which, in their opinion, had motivated the decision.

“As an institution, the European Commission has focused from the beginning of its mandate on cybersecurity, the protection of our colleagues and of course everyone who works here at the Commission,” Breton told reporters.

The European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton (REUTERS/Yves Herman/file)
The European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton (REUTERS/Yves Herman/file)

Sonya Gospodinovaspokesperson for the EU, stated that the decision was made by the Management Board of the European Commission, the executive body of the EU. security reasons.

“The objective of the measure is to protect the Commission against the threats and actions of cybersecurity that can be used to carry out cyberattacks against the corporate environment of the Commission”, he explained.

There was no immediate comment on whether other EU institutions, such as the European Councilrepresenting the Member States, or the European Parliament would take similar measures.

After the announcement, TikTok said he considered the decision “wrong”

“We are disappointed with this decision, which we believe to be wrong and based on fundamental misunderstandings,” said a spokesman for the Chinese-owned firm.

In November, TikTok admitted that some staff in China may access to the data of European users.

However, the company denies that the Chinese government has any control or access.

Heavy hand with technology

European Union flags fly in front of the EU Commission headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium, February 1, 2023 (REUTERS/Yves Herman/file)
European Union flags fly in front of the EU Commission headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium, February 1, 2023 (REUTERS/Yves Herman/file)

TikTok CEO, Shou Zi Chewwas in Brussels last month for talks with EU officials, during which they warned TikTok to ensure the security of European users’ data.

The company has said it is setting up centers in Europe to store user data locally and has promised to further reduce employee access to data.

TikTok also promised last year to store American user data in the United States to allay Washington’s concerns.

The European Union has adopted a hard line with tech companiespassing two important laws to ensure that social media platforms adhere to the bloc’s rules on digital matters.

The Digital Services Law (DSA) forces social media platforms, online marketplaces and search engines to react more quickly to remove content deemed to be contrary to EU regulations.

The other, the Digital Markets Law (DMA), prohibits the anti-competitive behavior of the so-called “guardians” of the Internet.

Similar measure in the US

The European Commission is thus following in the footsteps of USAwhere he Congress they have prohibited their legislators and employees from installing the application on their official phones.

President Joe Biden also approved in December the prohibition of TikTok on devices owned by government agencies, a measure that has also been taken by several States, including Texas, Alabama either Tennesseeas well as other institutions such as the University of Florida.

Some US lawmakers are also trying ban TikTok from operating in the United States.

The controversy in the US over the use of the Chinese application has worsened after the recent revelation that bytedancethe company that owns TikTok, used the social network to spy on journalists.

Last month, the Dutch government advised public officials to stay away from the app for similar reasons.

(With information from AFP and EFE)

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