Ontario bans TikTok on government-owned devices
The Chinese government has a stake in TikTok's owner
Ontario announced Thursday that it is banning the social media app TikTok on government-owned devices and on the personal devices of Progressive Conservative Party caucus members.
Treasury Board President Prabmeet Sarkaria wrote in a statement that the government has already started removing the app from those devices.
“The decision to block the TikTok application from government-issued and personal devices is a proactive and precautionary approach to ensuring the protection of government data and networks,” he wrote.
“While no data breaches have occurred, our government takes all allegations and concerns about data integrity incredibly seriously.”
As part of the ban, government advertising campaigns will be removed from TikTok, Sarkaria wrote.
Ontario’s move follows an announcement last week from the federal government that the app would be prohibited on government devices following a review by Canada’s chief information officer.
All of the provinces have since followed suit, with Ontario the last to announce its decision.
The Chinese government has a stake in TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, and Chinese laws allow the country to demand access to user data.
The company that owns TikTok maintains that it does not share data with China’s government and its data is not held in that country.
Ontario’s opposition parties said they would comply with the ban –even if they didn’t fully understand the app.
“I know that some of my colleagues are quite enamored with TikTok, but I’m too old for that,” said NDP finance critic Catherine Fife.
Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser said the government should indeed take it seriously, though he too professed he is not youthful enough to use the app himself.
“I think is a reasonable thing to do,” he said.
“I’m a bit archaic. I’m not on TikTok … I think we have to be cautious and thoughtful about who we are giving access to very personal data.”
Banner image: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 9, 2023.