Hong Kong — The U.S. and Canada both issued orders this weekon government-issued mobile devices amid growing privacy and cybersecurity concerns about the Chinese-owned video-sharing app. TikTok, owned by the larger tech company Bytedance, has long maintained that it does not and will not share data with the Chinese government and that its data is not held in China.
The company also disputes accusations that it collects more user data than other social media companies and insists that it’s run independently.
But many countries remain cautious, and Shawn Henry, chief security officer for the cybersecurity company CrowdStrike,
“China wants to be the No. 1 superpower in the world and they have been targeting U.S. technology, U.S. personal information. They’ve been doing electronic espionage for several decades now,” Henry said, describing the hugely popular app as “another opportunity for them [China] to gain access to people’s information, to see what people are thinking about, to potentially influence the way people think” through deliberate misinformation.
Below is a look at the countries and regions that have implemented partial or total bans on TikTok so far:
This week, the Biden administration gave all government agency staff 30 days to delete TikTok from federal devices and systems over data security concerns. The White House directive came after the U.S. Congress officially on all federal government devices in December.
Despite the repeated assurances from TikTok executives that the company will not do so, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monacothe ruling Communist Party requires companies doing business in China to provide access to their data.
While the ban applies only to government devices, some U.S. lawmakers are pushing for an outright ban on the app. China lashed out at the U.S. over the ban on government devices, describing it as an abuse of state power and a suppression of foreign businesses.
More than half of U.S. states also have also banned TikTok from their government devices.
The European Parliament, European Commission and the EU Council, three top EU bodies, have imposed bans on TikTok on staff devices. The European Parliament’s ban, announced Tuesday, takes effect on March 20. It has recommended lawmakers and staff remove the app from their personal devices.
European legislators have also voiced increasing concern about the app’s data policies and its, and as CBS News’ Emmet Lyons , Europe’s regulators may have more potent legal weapons at their disposal to challenge the company than some of their international counterparts.
Wide-ranging EU data protection laws, stricter than anything on the books in the U.S., for instance, could pose increasing challenges for TikTok bosses on the continent. The app is already the subject of two investigations by Ireland’s data protection regulator over alleged transfers of user data to China that may breach the country’s laws, as well as possible violations of children’s privacy.
The company may also come under a direct audit and face fines of up to 6% of the platform’s annual revenue under the EU’s new Digital Services Act, if it’s found to have failed to comply with that law.
After the U.S. announcement, Canada announced Monday that government-issued devices must not use TikTok, saying the app presents an “unacceptable” risk to privacy and security.
Employees will also be blocked from downloading the application in the future.
India imposed a ban on TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps, including the messaging app WeChat, in 2020 over privacy and security concerns. The ban came shortly after aat a disputed Himalayan border killed 20 Indian soldiers and injured dozens.
As CBS News’ Arshad Zargar reported at the time, it was the first deadly border clash between the Asian giants in decades, but the tension had been simmering for months. India has a growing middle class and is expected to eclipse China this year as the most populous nation on Earth.
The companies were given a chance to respond to questions about privacy and security requirements on the apps at the time, but the ban was made permanent in January 2021.
In December 2022, Taiwan imposed a public sector ban on TikTok after the.
Government devices, including cell phones, tablets and desktop computers, are not allowed to use Chinese-made software, which include apps like TikTok, its Chinese equivalent Douyin, or Xiaohongshu, a Chinese lifestyle content app.
Taiwan is a tiny, democratically governed island that functions independently but sits just 110 miles across the Taiwan Strait from China. Beijing claims Taiwan as its own territory and has vowed to exert control over the island, by force if necessary.
President Bidenlate last year that Taiwan makes its “own judgments” about its independence and the U.S. wasn’t “encouraging… their being independent,” but he said he would use American military power to help defend the island if China were to launch “an unprecedented attack.”
Pakistani authorities have temporarily banned TikTok at least four times since October 2020, citing concerns that app promotes immoral content.
Afghanistan’sbanned TikTok and the Chinese game PUBG in 2022 on the grounds of protecting young people from “being misled,” but like its neighbor Pakistan the country made no reference to security concerns.