With several states banning TikTok for cyber security and privacy issues, Belgium becomes another country to ban it from government phones for the same. The country’s prime minister decided on the action after different authorities took the step in Europe and the United States.
According to a post on the website of Alexander de Croo, ByteDance-owned TikTok will be shortly restricted from several devices owned by the federal government of Belgium for a period of at least six months.
TikTok said it is “disappointed at this suspension, which is based on basic misinformation about our company.” The company said it’s “readily available to meet with officials to address any concerns and set the record straight on misconceptions.”
TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, shifted its headquarters to Singapore in 2020 to separate itself from its Chinese roots. It stated that it has incorporated itself outside of China, while its majority is held by global investors.
But workers have already been instructed to uninstall the application from phones used for work-related reasons by the three major institutions of the European Union and the Danish defence ministry. Similar rules have been put in place across the United States and Canada.
The conflict over TikTok is a tiny component of a bigger world conflict over technical and financial dominance among China, the United States, and its Western allies.
De Croo stated that the national security service and its cybersecurity centre had issued concerns about the application’s ability to collect user information and alter algorithms to change its social media feeds and content. These warnings were the foundation for Belgium’s prohibition, according to De Croo.
He stated without getting into greater detail that they often voiced concern that TikTok would be pressured to do spying for Beijing.
“We are in a new geopolitical context where influence and surveillance between states have shifted to the digital world,” de Croo said in an online statement.
“We must not be naive: TikTok is a Chinese company that today is obliged to cooperate with the intelligence services. This is the reality. Prohibiting its use on federal service devices is common sense.”
TikTok stated that user information is stored in Singapore and the United States, and it mentioned fresh actions taken to satisfy European worries by keeping user information in European server farms.
“The Chinese government cannot compel another sovereign nation to provide data stored in that nation’s territory,” the company said in a statement.