On February 27, 2023, the President of the Treasury Board, Mona Fortier, announced that the use of TikTok would be banned on all government-issued mobile devices. The decision was made after a review by the Chief Information Officer of Canada, who determined that TikTok presents an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security.
The ban will be effective from February 28, 2023, and users of government-issued mobile devices will be blocked from downloading the application in the future. The decision to remove and block TikTok from government mobile devices is being taken as a precaution, particularly given concerns about the legal regime that governs the information collected from mobile devices. TikTok’s data collection methods provide considerable access to the contents of the phone, making it a potential risk to government information security.
The decision is in line with the approach of Canada’s international partners. While there is no evidence at this point that government information has been compromised, the ban is a preventive measure to protect sensitive information from potential risks.
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The ban of TikTok on government-issued mobile devices does not affect the use of the app by the broader public. However, the Communications Security Establishment’s Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (Cyber Centre) strongly recommends that Canadians understand the risks and make an informed choice on their own before deciding what tools to use.
The Policy on Service and Digital- Canada.ca sets out the acceptable and unacceptable way employees can use Government of Canada electronic networks and device. Agencies and crown corporations outside the Policy on Service and Digital are being informed of TikTok’s removal.
In conclusion, the decision to ban TikTok on government-issued mobile devices is a necessary measure to protect sensitive government information from potential risks. The Canadian government is committed to keeping government information secure and regularly monitors its systems to address risks. While the decision does not affect the use of TikTok by the broader public, Canadians are encouraged to make informed choices about the tools they use, particularly those that may pose risks to privacy and security.