Belgian government bans TikTok on official phones
March 11, 2023 09:36 AM
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Friday banned federal officials from using TikTok on their work phones, making his the latest country to take steps against the Chinese app.
A number of national governments in Europe have already restricted TikTok for government employees, over fears the authorities in Beijing could use the video-sharing network to access sensitive user data.
The European Union's governing institutions also told staff in recent weeks to purge the app from smartphones and laptops used for work purposes.
"We shouldn't be naive: TikTok is a Chinese business that is currently obliged to cooperate with the Chinese intelligence services," De Croo said.
"That is the reality."
The Belgian move -- in place for a preliminary six months -- follows a risk assessment into potential espionage by the country's cybersecurity and intelligence agencies.
It does not cover the usage of the video-sharing app on the personal phones of civil servants, ministers, or lawmakers.
Western powers, including the European Union and the United States, have been taking an increasingly tough approach to the app, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance.
TikTok launched a new push to assuage European worries over security on Wednesday, saying the company was working with a third-party European security company to oversee and check how it handles data.
TikTok says its European user data will be stored at two centres in Dublin and one in Norway from 2023 onwards.