“On a mobile device, TikTok’s data collection methods provide substantial access to phone content,” Treasury Department head Mona Fortier said in a statement, adding that the move was a “precautionary measure.”
“We have no reason to believe at this time that any government information has been compromised,” he added.
A spokesperson for TikTok expressed regret in an email to AFP that the “curious” decision was made “without citing any specific security issue” and regretted that the platform was not contacted by the government.
The ultra-popular short and viral video platform, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is increasingly scrutinized by Westerners who fear Beijing could access users’ data around the world.
The ban in Canada comes days after a similar decision by the European Commission, which banned TikTok for its employees to “protect” the company.
TikTok is also in the crosshairs of US officials: a law approved by President Joe Biden a few weeks ago bans the use of the app on the devices of the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as government employees.
Relations between China and Canada have soured sharply in recent years, particularly after the 2018 arrest by Canada of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the United States.
The Canadian Privacy Commissioner announced last week that it has opened an investigation into TikTok’s compliance with Canadian laws.
It specifically aims to verify that “TikTok has valid consent to collect, use and communicate personal information”.
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