TikTok says the European Union (EU) and Canada failed to consult it about their decision to ban staff from using the app on government devices. It accuses both of not spelled out their cyber security concerns before making the decision.
The EU and Canada are among several governments that have banned the Chinese-owned video platform TikTok on their own. The bans are prompted by concerns that the company’s owner, ByteDance, is giving access to user data to the Chinese government.
TikTok Says EU Failed to Consult It
TikTok, owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, has said that it was “disappointed and perplexed” by the EU’s decision to ban its staff from using its app. It claimed the move was a “misguided” one and based on “fundamental misconceptions.”
A spokesperson for TikTok told Reuters that the European Union had failed to consult it before making the decision to ban its staff from using the app. “We are really operating under a cloud, and quite frankly one would expect some sort of engagement on this matter,” the company’s director of public policy and government relations, Caroline Greer, told Reuters.
The EU’s executive body announced Thursday that it was banning its staff from using TikTok on their work-related devices, as well as any personally-owned ones that have access to corporate services. The move follows the company’s admission in November that Chinese-based employees were able to access European user data. It also followed a leak that revealed that Chinese staff were accessing US user data as part of routine operations.
TikTok Says EU Failed to Discuss Privacy Concerns
TikTok has issued a statement accusing the European Union of not consulting it over its ban on staff phones. The European Commission, the executive wing of the EU, banned the app from work-issued devices Thursday in order to enhance cybersecurity.
According to media outlets, the commission ordered all 32,000 permanent and contract staff to delete TikTok from both their work phones and personal ones that use the body’s mobile device service. If they fail to comply, they could lose access to corporate apps like their email and Skype accounts.
The move comes in light of a series of investigations into how TikTok handles user data, which has led to a growing amount of scrutiny from Western governments. In particular, the app’s Chinese parent company ByteDance has faced increased pressure to explain how it shares user data with the government.
During the last two months, Western lawmakers have asked TikTok to explain its data practices in light of concerns that ByteDance may be sharing user data with the Chinese government. As a result, TikTok has been trying to mitigate these worries by setting up data centers in Europe and limiting the amount of information sent to countries outside of Europe.
TikTok Says EU Failed to Discuss Security Concerns
TikTok is blaming the European Commission for not consulting it over its staff phone ban, in which it will be forced to remove its short video app from work devices and any personal ones that use Commission apps and services. The ban was sparked by cybersecurity concerns and comes as a number of Western governments have expressed concern that TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, could help Beijing spy on users.
TikTok chief Shou Zi Chew flew to Brussels for a charm offensive in January but was sent home by European policy leaders with stark warnings. They told him he had a long way to go to win back the trust of Europeans and urged him to ensure data protection in Europe.
TikTok has also been subject to a direct audit and will face fines of up to 6% of its annual revenue under the EU’s new Digital Services Act, if it’s found to have failed to comply with that law. A TikTok spokeswoman said the company was working hard to improve its security practices in Europe and would continue to do so.
TikTok Says EU Failed to Discuss Data Protection Concerns
TikTok has pushed back against the European Union for not consulting it over a ban on its staff using its phone app. It says that the EU failed to discuss data protection concerns, including whether its users’ personal information is safe.
The EU reportedly banned its thousands of employees from using the Chinese-owned app on their corporate devices, citing cybersecurity concerns. According to an email obtained by EURACTIV, it was sent to all Commission staff enrolled in its mobile device service.
The move comes after the US banned TikTok from federal government phones in December. The app’s parent company, ByteDance, is based in China and it has been under scrutiny for its data collection practices.