The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the state body responsible for providing advice on cyber security to the Irish government, has advised government officials and staff at state agencies not to use Chinese-owned video app TikTok on official devices due to security concerns.
TikTok has been banned by several Western countries including the US, UK, and some European Union (EU) member states over concerns that China’s government could use the app to harvest users’ data or advance its interests. In addition, the EU’s two largest policymaking institutions have also banned the app recently.
TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has been under scrutiny from governments and regulators due to the amount of user data it collects, which has raised concerns about the nature of Chinese intelligence-gathering law.
Richard Browne, the director of the NCSC, said that TikTok collects a very high amount of user data and that this creates a risk given the nature of Chinese intelligence-gathering law. He added that the issue is not what is known to be happening, but what cannot be ruled out.
Browne told national broadcaster RTE that once the risk exists, it puts the government in a situation where a sensible risk-based approach needs to be taken to ensure that government data cannot be compromised.
Exceptions and Future Plans
The NCSC stated that there was no reason why politicians could not use TikTok on their private devices and that it could be used on official devices in exceptional cases where there is a business need, such as by a press office.
TikTok runs several of its European operations, including data privacy and protection, from Dublin. The company recently announced plans to open a second data center in Ireland and reduce the transfer of data outside of the EU.
Leave a Reply