Following in US footsteps: Belgium bans civil servants from using TikTok
TikTok is leaking sensitive data from Europeans to Chinese intelligence agencies, authorities say.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Cros on March 10 banned civil servants from using TikTok on their work phones.
De Cros said that the Belgian National Security Council had warned of the risks associated with the large amounts of data collected by TikTok, as well as that the company was cooperating with Chinese intelligence agencies.
TikTok responded by saying it was disappointed with Kro’s decision, which was based on “dramatically wrong information.” The company said it stores user data in the US and Singapore and is building data centers in Europe.
“The Chinese government cannot force other sovereign countries to share data stored on their territory,” a TikTok spokesperson said.
Belgium’s Flemish regional government has announced that it will restrict access to TikTok on office phones, and De Cros has urged other regional governments to enforce the same rules.
Earlier it became known that legislation was presented in the US Congress that would allow the authorities to ban TikTok and other foreign technology across the country for reasons of national security. National security experts speculate that the Chinese government may be using TikTok to spread misinformation and manipulate the service’s algorithms to spy on Americans.
Also in March, the White House instructed US government agencies remove TikTok from corporate devices within 30 days. The directive from the administration of US President Joe Biden comes after a bill was introduced in Congress in December to ban the use of TikTok on federal government devices.
The bill is linked to a national security risk due to the fact that ByteDance (the parent company of TikTok) can transfer access to the data of American users of the service to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).