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More provinces banning TikTok on government-issued devices pending federal assessment

Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan became the latest provinces Wednesday to join a growing number of Canadian jurisdictions banning the use of TikTok on government-owned devices pending the results of a threat assessment by the federal government.

The Nova Scotia government issued a statement saying TikTok’s data collection methods provide substantial access to data on mobile devices, making users “vulnerable to surveillance.”

Service Nova Scotia Minister Colton LeBlanc said there is no need for the app to be on government-issued devices.

“There are also concerns about the legal regime that governs the information collected,” LeBlanc said. “There is no evidence at this time that foreign actors have compromised government information.”

A news release from Saskatchewan said the provincial government decided on the ban after discussion with its information and privacy commissioner and their federal counterpart.

The ban applies to all Saskatchewan government ministries, Crown corporations and agencies and is also to be adopted by government caucus.

Provincial and federal privacy watchdogs recently announced an investigation delving into whether TikTok complies with Canadian privacy legislation.

The chief information officer of Canada did a review of the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform and determined it posed an “unacceptable” level of risk to privacy and security.

That led to the federal government and House of Commons banning the app from government-owned devices earlier this week.

The Alberta and Quebec governments, as well as the city of Calgary, have also prohibited TikTok on government-issued devices. Officials in Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed they are looking at taking similar action.

The United States announced Monday that all government agencies have 30 days to delete TikTok from federal devices and systems, and several other countries have followed suit, including India, Taiwan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, as well as the European Union.

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. 

Source: bnnbloomberg