The popular video sharing app TikTok is once again under fire, this time from the European Commission, which is pushing for a ban on the app due to concerns over user privacy and data security.
The move comes on the heels of similar bans in the United States, where lawmakers have raised concerns about the app's ties to the Chinese government and the potential for user data to be compromised.
With TikTok facing mounting pressure from governments around the world, the app's future is uncertain, and users are left wondering what's next for their favorite platform.
The European Commission has announced plans to ban TikTok, saying that the move will help defend against cyber threats:
"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. This 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."
TikTok has been a subject of controversy due to allegations that the app can be used for spying or propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party. In January, U.S. President Joe Biden signed a law that prohibits the use of TikTok on government-issued devices and in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
These concerns have been echoed by politicians in Europe, with French President Emmanuel Macron accusing the app of censoring content and encouraging online addiction among young people.
The European Commission's decision to ban TikTok follows a recent report by the European Data Protection Board that found the app to be in violation of EU data protection laws.
In response to the ban, a TikTok spokesperson stated that the company takes user privacy and data protection seriously, and that it has implemented a range of measures to safeguard user data. The spokesperson also emphasized that the company is not controlled by the Chinese government and that there is no truth to allegations of spying or propaganda.
However, these assurances have not impacted concerns in the U.S and Europe, where politicians and officials remain skeptical of TikTok's intentions.
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Matt Marsden, VP, Technical Account Management at Tanium, offers some perspective on the TikTok bans and why there is real reason to be concerned:
"Chinese intelligence tactics are focused on longer-term objectives and are fueled by the sustained collection of data. The immense collection of user data, to now include commerce and purchasing information, combined with biometrics and activity tracking, feeds detailed intelligence to be used in operations. This data can be leveraged to deliver targeted, timely, and often personalized psychological operations against individuals or groups of citizens. This has been observed during election cycles and politically charged events in recent years."
The ban on TikTok by the European Commission marks a significant development in the ongoing controversy surrounding the app, and underscores the growing concern over data privacy and security in the digital age.
While TikTok's fate remains uncertain, it is clear that the app's status as a Chinese-owned company has made it a lightning rod for political tensions between China and the West. As governments around the world grapple with the challenges of regulating social media and safeguarding user data, the controversy over TikTok is likely to continue.
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