TikTok is now officially banned on Belgian government work phones

It's all about privacy concerns.
Christopher McFadden
TikTok icon displayed on a phone screen with in the background European Union Flag seen in this photo illustration.
TikTok icon displayed on a phone screen with in the background European Union Flag seen in this photo illustration.

Jonathan Raa,NurPhoto/Getty Images 

According to a report from Reuters, on March 10, 2023, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that federal government employees in Belgium would no longer be able to use the Chinese-owned video app TikTok on their company phones.

De Croo said that the Belgian national security council had warned about the dangers of TikTok collecting a lot of data and having to work with Chinese intelligence services. TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, and the company is required to work with Chinese intelligence services.

"That's why it is logical to forbid the use of TikTok on phones provided by the federal government. The safety of our information must prevail," he said.

Due to growing worries about the business and whether China's government could use TikTok to collect user data or further its interests, the European Commission and the European Parliament banned the app from staff phones last month. Beijing has, as would be expected, consistently refuted any such plans.

After the Flemish regional government of Belgium said on Thursday that its employees couldn't use TikTok on their phones, De Croo asked other regional governments to follow the same rules.

This news comes hot on the heels of similar talk from the United States. The White House has backed a bill from a group of senators that would give the administration broad powers to ban foreign technology like the Chinese-owned video app TikTok, among others, if it threatens national security.

The bill's target is the popular app, which belongs to the Chinese company ByteDance and has over 100 million US users. The law would allow the Commerce Department to limit or even ban TikTok and other technologies that threaten national security.

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It applies to China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba. TikTok was against the measure because it would make it hard for more than a billion people worldwide to learn about American culture and values. The bill would also require the secretary of commerce to identify and deal with external risks to goods and services that use information and communications technology.

In 2020, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States said that ByteDance should sell TikTok because of worries that user data could be given to the Chinese government. TikTok has denied espionage claims and stated that it had invested more than $1.5 billion in data security measures.

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