HomeUS News updateBelgium bans TikTok from government phones after U.S. and E.U.

Belgium bans TikTok from government phones after U.S. and E.U.

Belgium is banning TikTok from government phones over concerns about cyber security, privacy and misinformation, the country’s prime minister said on Friday, mirroring recent action by other authorities in Europe and the US.

The Chinese-owned video sharing app will be temporarily banned from devices owned or paid for by the Belgian federal government for at least six months, according to a post on Alexander de Crew’s website.

TikTok said it was “disappointed by this suspension, which is based on fundamental misinformation about our company.” The company said it is “readily available to meet with executives to address any concerns and set the record straight on misconceptions.”

TikTok is owned by China’s ByteDance, which moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020. The company has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots, saying that its parent company is incorporated outside China and is owned by global institutional investors.

But the EU’s three main institutions and Denmark’s defense ministry have already ordered employees to remove the app from devices they use for official business. Similar restrictions have been imposed in Canada and the US.

The dispute over TikTok is part of a wider global rivalry between China and the US and its Western allies over technological and economic supremacy.

De Crew said Belgium’s ban was based on warnings from the State Security Service and its cyber security centre, which said the app could harvest user data and change algorithms to manipulate its news feed and content .

He also warned that TikTok could be forced to spy for Beijing, he said without being more specific.

“We are in a new geopolitical context where influence and surveillance between states has shifted to the digital world,” De Crew said in an online statement. “Let us not be naive: TikTok is a Chinese company obliged to cooperate with intelligence services today. It is the truth. It is common sense to prohibit its use on federal service equipment.”

TikTok said user data is stored in the US and Singapore and pointed to new measures to ease European concerns by storing user data in European data centres.

“The Chinese government cannot compel another sovereign nation to provide data stored on that country’s territory,” the company said in a statement.



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