France Becomes the Latest Country to Ban TikTok On Government Devices, Citing National Security Concerns

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Paris, France. Photo Credit: Anthony Tan

Days following TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew’s appearance before Congress, France has become the latest country to prohibit the video-sharing app’s use on government devices.

France’s minister of public transformation and service, Stanislas Guerini, just recently confirmed the development on social media, attributing the ban to “cybersecurity and personal data protection issues.” The US, the UK, the EU, and Canada have likewise banned TikTok on government devices (with Jordan and India having outlawed the platform altogether).

Of course, logic suggests that any app so wholly unsuited for use among elected officials and their teams also poses a significant threat to the general public. In the States alone, the NSA, the FCC, the FBI, the Justice Department, and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have expressed national-security concerns about the ByteDance-owned service.

A portion of ByteDance belongs to the Chinese Communist Party, which can compel any domestic company to turn over (even sensitive) information at its discretion. Moreover, the Beijing-headquartered entity has acknowledged that its employees improperly accessed user data. Meanwhile, some have alleged that the CCP uses TikTok “as a propaganda tool,” including by influencing media trends and related discussions to its benefit on the world stage.

This far-reaching stateside pushback against TikTok – which the State of Indiana is suing for allegedly exposing children to explicit content – set the scene for the initially mentioned congressional testimony of Shou Zi Chew last week. And with his comments having evidently failed to stem the tide of lawmaker scrutiny, it’ll be worth keeping in mind the possibility that one countrywide prohibition could set in motion full-scale TikTok bans in key markets around the globe.

Consequently, France’s above-highlighted ban of TikTok (as well as other “recreational” apps, it appears) on all government devices is important for multiple reasons. According to a translation of a French-language release from Guerini’s agency, the restriction went into effect “immediately.”

“For several weeks, several of our European and international partners have adopted measures restricting or prohibiting the downloading and installation of the TikTok application by their administrations,” the translated text reads in part. “After an analysis of the issues, particularly security, the government has decided to ban the downloading and installing [of] recreational applications on business phones provided to public officials.

“Indeed, recreational applications do not have the levels of cybersecurity and protection of sufficient data to be deployed on administrative equipment,” the document continues. “These apps can therefore constitute a risk to the protection of the data of these administrations and their public officials.”

On the music side, TikTok remains engaged in long-running licensing talks with the Big Three, and a recent report suggested that the service had experienced a usership decline in Australia after limiting the availability of popular tracks.