Why France is banning ‘recreational’ apps
France announced that it is banning the “recreational” use of TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and other apps on government employees’ phones due to security concerns.
“To guarantee the cybersecurity of our administrations and our public officials, the @gouvernementFR has decided to ban recreational applications such as TikTok, on the professional phones of State officials,” the French Minister for Transformation and Public Administration, Stanislas Guerini, said in a statement on Twitter.
The ban will be monitored by France’s cybersecurity agency for compliance, however, there are exceptions. If an official wants to use a banned app for professional purposes, they can seek permission to do so.
The country’s Ministry of Home Affairs had already implemented restrictions on some apps. “Our intention is to standardise the rule. Now it will apply to all ministries, to all administrations for the sake of clarity or simply for the sake of the effectiveness of our cybersecurity policies,” the ministry said.
TikTok ban by other countries
Lawmakers in the US, Europe and Canada have restricted access to TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance. Recently, the Netherlands, Norway, and the UK banned the use of apps on devices used by government employees. There have been growing concerns over the app’s ties to China as well as user privacy and security.
India imposed a complete ban on TikTok in 2020 citing security concerns. The US is also mulling a ban on the Chinese app and the US Congress recently grilled the company’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew.
TikTok ban in the US
Earlier this week, Chew faced the US lawmakers for questioning on the app’s alleged ties to the Chinese government. The executive denied assertions saying that 60% of ByteDance is owned by global institutional investors.
The US government had reportedly demanded that TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, sell the app or face a possible ban in the country. But the Chinese government responded by saying that, if the reports are true, it would strongly oppose any forced sale of TikTok.
According to Shu Jueting, a spokesperson of China’s Commerce Ministry, a sale or divestiture of TikTok would involve exporting technology and had to be approved by the Chinese government. In 2017, China implemented a law requiring companies to give the government any personal data relevant to the country’s national security.