The European Commission posted a press release titled: “Commission strengthens cybersecurity and suspends the use of TikTok on its corporate devices”. From the press release:
“To increase its cybersecurity, the Commission’s Corporate Management Board has decided to suspend the use of the TikTok application on its corporate devices and on personal devices enrolled in the Commission mobile device service. The measure aims to protect the Commission against cybersecurity threats and actions which may be exploited for cyber-attacks against the corporate environment of the Commission. The security developments of other social media platforms will also be kept under constant review.
“The measure is in line with Commission strict internal cybersecurity policies for use of mobile devices for work-related communications. It complements long-standing Commission advice to staff to apply best practices when using social media platforms and keep high-level of cyber awareness in their daily work.
“The Commission is committed to ensuring that its staff is well protected against increasing cyber threats and incidents. It is, therefore, our duty to respond as early as possible to potential cyber alerts.
“Today’s suspension is an internal corporate decision which is strictly limited to the use of devices enrolled in its mobile service.”
In an unprecedented move, the European Commission has banned staff from using the Chinese social media app TikTok over security concerns, in the latest example of growing strains between Beijing and the West, Politico reported.
According to Politico, western governments are increasingly alarmed by evidence that Chinese technology companies assist the Communist Party and its intelligence services in gathering vast amounts of data all over the world – with a particular focus on high-value political and security targets.
A senior official told Politico that all staff were ordered on Thursday morning to remove TikTok from their official devices and that they must also remove the app from their personal devices if they have any work-related apps installed.
Alternatively, the staff member can delete work-related apps from their personal phones if they insist on keeping TikTok.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the European Commission has banned its staff from using the TikTok app on their work-issued devices from March 15 because of cybersecurity concerns, widening across the Atlantic a patchwork of bans affecting U.S. officials.
The move, The Wall Street Journal reported, would affect thousands of employees of the European Union’s top executive body, comes as officials in Europe and the U.S. scrutinize TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., over security concerns.
A commission spokeswoman said staff were told to remove TikTok if it was installed on their work devices. Personal devices that have work-related apps, such a a professional email app, were also banned from having TikTok, she said. The decision was made by the commission’s corporate management board.
It is unclear to me why anyone would want to put apps like TikTok onto their work-related devices. The European Commission has the authority to require its staff to remove TikTok (and potentially other social media apps) off of their work-phones. I can see why the Commission is concerned about security risks from apps that typically appear to be entertaining.