Belgium bans TikTok from government phones after US and EU

Belgian PM says TikTok will be banned from government phones over cybersecurity, privacy and disinformation concerns

BRUSSELS — Belgium is banning TikTok from government phones over concerns about cybersecurity, privacy and disinformation, the country’s prime minister said on Friday, mirroring recent moves by other European and US authorities.

The Chinese-owned video-sharing app will be temporarily banned for at least six months on devices owned or paid for by the Belgian federal government, according to Alexander de Croo’s website.

TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company, owned by China’s ByteDance, has long maintained that it does not share data with the Chinese government and that its data is not stored in China.

TikTok unveiled new measures this week to ease concerns about user data protection in Europe.

However, the three main institutions of the European Union and the Danish Ministry of Defense have already instructed employees to remove the app from devices used for official business. Similar bans have been introduced in Canada and the United States

The controversy over TikTok is part of a broader global rivalry between China and the United States and its Western allies for technological and economic supremacy.

De Croo said Belgium’s ban was based on warnings from the state security service and its cyber security center that the app could collect user data and modify algorithms to manipulate news feed and content.

They also warned that TikTok could be forced to spy for Beijing, he said, without being more specific.

“We are in a new geopolitical context where influence and surveillance between states has shifted towards the digital world,” de Croo said in an online statement. “We must not be naive: TikTok is a Chinese company that is obliged to cooperate with the intelligence services today. This is the reality. Prohibiting use on federal service equipment is common sense.


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