Saturday, March 25, 2023
Home New Release Ban of TikTok app on federal government devices sparks debate on security

Ban of TikTok app on federal government devices sparks debate on security

The recent ban of the TikTok app on Canadian federal government devices has sparked conversation around security on social media.

The app has been the subject of security concerns lately.

The federal government banned it from government-issued phones on February 28 and Manitoba followed suit with a ban beginning March 6.

Government employees could still use the app, but they would have to use it on personal devices or secondary devices, according to Cybersecurity & Technology Analyst Ritesh Kotak.

Kotak said this is because of the data the app collects from people’s devices.

Read more:

Influencer Andrew Tate’s arrest sparks conversations around misogyny, online hate

“The type of device you’re using, your location, they may have access to your address book, your calendar,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

However, he said the problem is actually threefold and includes more than what’s being collected from the device.

“The second is subscriber information. When you actually sign up for the app, it collects your date of birth, your full name, phone number, and email address,” Kotak said.

“The third one is content-based, and that is, what are you actually liking or viewing? How are you scrolling, at what time of day?”

TikTok is a very powerful platform that connects millions of people, young and old.

The question is, what is different about TikTok compared to other social media platforms that collect similar data?

Read more:

‘My ex is a narcissist’: Experts break down dating advice on TikTok

“It’s because of its Chinese connection,” said Kotak.

“The federal government is taking the precautionary step of saying, well, wait a second, is there a way that information about government devices, information collected by these apps, location, content, subscriber information can be sent to China and be essentially turned over to the Chinese government?”

Kotak advises TikTok users to perform what he calls a ‘privacy checkup,’ which means understanding what data the app is collecting, what users are agreeing to. He also advises taking some simple steps such as disabling the location feature, ensuring that it doesn’t have access to your contact, your address book, your contacts and just to use different email addresses when signing up.

Story continues below advertisement

“There are ways of safely using TikTok and other apps, you just got to be cognizant of who has the data, the control of that data, and how it could be used by third parties.”

Another issue the popular app presents is it can take a toll on users’ mental health because the app can be addictive and consume a lot of people’s time.

“It actually affects your productivity, if I am sitting and holding the phone at 9 a.m., that’s the most productive hours from 9 to 5, and if I’m holding it in hand, I’m going to scroll for two hours,” said Winnipeg TikTok user Supriya Gupta.

The app is very intrusive and it collects everything, it knows people’s political views, viewing habits, likes, dislikes, and buying habits, according to Kotak.

“You got to understand that anything that you post, anything that you do on any of these apps is going to be mined, is going to be collected, is going to be analyzed,” said Kotak.

“If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product, and it’s your data that these companies want.”

With files from Global’s Iris Dyck

Click to play video: 'Manitoba to ban TikTok app on government-issued devices over security concerns'

Manitoba to ban TikTok app on government-issued devices over security concerns

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Vancouver Art Gallery memorial to residential school children to be removed

A memorial to the Indigenous children who never made it home from residential school has been lining the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery...

That TikTok hearing was pretty messed up, right?

/ Instead of asking actual important questions related to how TikTok does business and uses the data it gathers from users, Congress was...

Xencelabs’ new display drawing tablet gives Wacom a run for its money

/ The Xencelabs Pen Display 24 Studio Series rivals the Wacom Cintiq Pro 27 for features and is almost half the price.Unlike the...

Here’s a look at which Ontario public sector workers made the most money last year

Ontario’s so-called sunshine list is out and the three top paid public employees in the province are all at Ontario Power Generation. The disclosure of public sector...