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Monday, February 26, 2024

TikTok. Other countries introduce restrictions. How is it in Poland?

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In recent weeks, more countries have introduced a ban on installing the TikTok application on the phones of government officials. Restrictions have already been introduced, among others, by France, Great Britain and the USA. In Poland, such actions were recommended by the Council for Digitization. However, this does not change much in practice.

On Monday, the Digitization Council adopted a resolution on the use of TikTok on official devices in the state administration. It recommended banning the use of this application.

However, as he stated Janusz CieszyńskiSecretary of State at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, this resolution “does not change practically anything in the situation of TikTok in Poland.” He explained that the Council is only an advisory body. This means that its position is not binding on the institution in any way.

At the beginning of March, he was the head of the Sejm Foreign Affairs Committee Radoslaw Fogiel (PiS) said that Poland is not working on limiting access to TikTok. – If we were to be affected by any restrictions in this regard, it would rather be at the EU level – he said.

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Meanwhile, more countries are introducing a ban on installing the TikTok application on the phones of government officials. In the background, there are concerns about the security of key data that may be shared with the Chinese authorities.

These countries have introduced restrictions for TikTok

US federal employees are not allowed to use TikTok. Congress this year banned the app on officials’ phones due to suspicions that user data was being shared with Beijing authorities. National Security Advisor USA Jake Sullivan called on Congress in early March to pass a bill that would allow the administration to ban the general operation of TikTok and other apps and technology companies related to, among others, smartphones. with China and Russia. The draft of such a bill was submitted by senators of both parties.

government last week France banned with immediate effect the installation and use of so-called entertainment apps, including TikTok and Netflix, on the work phones of civil servants. The ban affects 2.5 million civil servants. Personal telephones of officials are not covered.

Government Great Britain recently announced that it is banning the TikTok app on government devices with immediate effect. “Security of sensitive government information must come first,” said Chief of Staff Oliver Dowden.

Also European Commission informed that due to the need to strengthen cybersecurity, EC employees have not been able to use TikTok on business phones since mid-March. However, the EC declined to provide details on this decision, citing internal security issues. Too European parliament decided to ban the use of TikTok on the company phones of its employees.

Belgian The National Security Council has banned the use of TikTok on the work phones of government officials. According to the local authorities, the application may allow the transfer of sensitive data to the Chinese authorities.

Canada decided that the TikTok application will be removed from the official phones of employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the possibility of using it will be blocked. The local office of the Chief Information Officer of Canada found that TikTok’s data collection methods could lead to cyberattacks.

New Zealand blocked TikTok on devices with access to the parliamentary network due to cybersecurity concerns.

Such a ban, due to cyber security, was also introduced weeks ago Prague City Hall. He also recommended that officials uninstall it from their private phones. The city called on its subordinate companies and organizations to take a similar step. This is a reaction to the warnings of the Czech National Cyber ​​and Information Security Bureau (NUKiB).

Employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Latvia cannot use the Chinese TikTok app on work devices. “For security reasons, I have deleted my TikTok account, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is prohibited from using this application on devices with ministerial e-mail accounts installed,” Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkeviczs said when announcing the decision.

Interrogation of the boss of TikTok

Last Thursday, the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee met at the Capitol in Washington, with the participation of the head of TikTok, Shou Zi Chew.

During the meeting, which lasted more than five hours, the congressmen accused TikTok – a platform belonging to the Chinese company ByteDance – of being a tool of influence of the Chinese Communist Party, harmful to children and sharing data of American TikTok users with Chinese services.

Chew argued that TikTok is not significantly different from other social media platforms. He assured that there was no evidence that ByteDance shared data with Chinese services. At the same time, he promoted the company’s plan, which would respond to the concerns expressed by the US. It is about the so-called “Texas project”, consisting in isolating American users’ data on Oracle servers in Austin and controlling the algorithm and data processing by independent auditors.

TikTok position

Below we publish a statement from TikToK, which the editors received earlier:

“It’s important to distinguish political issues about TikTok from those related to how the app works. While some issues (e.g. Chinese pedigree) have been politicized, we take all security issues very seriously. Policymakers and regulators in Europe are rightly focused on understanding whether TikTok poses any actual threat to security, and to working with us to develop industry-leading policy solutions to address any user data issues.

ByteDance is not owned by China – 60 percent of shares are held by global investment funds such as Sequoia Capital or SoftBank, 21 percent by the company’s founder Jiming Zhang. In addition, just under 20 percent are owned by smaller investors and employees in stock options. The company and its founders are permanently located in Singapore.

As we have also emphasized many times, TikTok neither operates nor is based in China, nor is it dependent on the Chinese authorities in any way, nor does it share any data with the local authorities. All requests for data sent to us by any authority are transparently communicated in public quarterly reports.

In addition, it should be made clear that TikTok does not collect or process more data than other large digital platforms whose monetization profile is based on advertising activities. The scope of the data itself also significantly depends on the consents expressed in the device itself or granted. As for concerns about the possibility of data access by administrators located in China, we would like to inform you that TikTok is a global platform that operates 24/7 and must maintain appropriate continuity processes. This may require incident response or some administrative action. As part of the last update of the privacy policy, we transparently listed the countries and employees who can request access to data.

There are several countries around the world, China is on this list. Nevertheless, user data is stored on a daily basis on servers in Singapore and the United States, soon also in Europe. When processing and storing them, we comply with the law, including the obligations imposed by the GDPR.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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