According to the report, the Belgian government has told its staff to immediately delete the chat program from all work phones and block access to the application. It was noted that the provision prohibits the use of the application on a temporary basis.
As the reason for the ban, the federal government cited that TikTok’s algorithms allow the app to influence the flow of information and content, and pointed out that Chinese law requires TikTok to cooperate with Chinese intelligence agencies.
Investigations by the Belgian Cyber Security Center (CCB) and Belgian security services have revealed that the Chinese app has several security flaws, raising concerns about how the program handles users’ personal data, opening the door to possible data spying – they wrote. The ban will be in effect for six months and will apply to any device where the purchase, subscription or use of the device is paid for in whole or in part by the federal government.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo emphasized that the government cannot allow naivety. “We are in a new geopolitical environment, where influence and espionage between states have moved towards the digital world. The security of our information is a priority,” he said. Georges Gilkinet, the mobility minister of the Belgian federal government, called the decision “logical and necessary” in a message published on Twitter.
The French-language Belgian daily La Libre Belgique also reported that the Flemish government made a decision on Thursday to ban its employees from using TikTok. The Walloon government proposed a similar measure on Monday. The Brussels-based European Union institutions decided earlier this month that from March 20, the use or installation of TikTok on staff electronic devices, including mobile phones, tablets or laptops, will be prohibited. Employees were also asked to remove the application from their personal devices for private use.
According to their reasoning, “cybersecurity concerns have been raised regarding the use of the social media platform TikTok, in particular with regard to data protection and data collection by third parties”. The purpose of the measure is to protect the data and information held by the institutions, as well as to protect the institutions from cyber security threats and activities that could lead to cyber attacks, they said.
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