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Tiktok Poses Threat to Personal Data, Danish Public Broadcaster Advises Staff Against Using It

This was formerly published by BBC.


Denmark’s public-service broadcaster has advised staff not to have TikTok on their work phones, because of security concerns.


DR said the decision followed a security review and warnings from Denmark’s Centre for Cyber Security.


Journalists needing access to the app for research must now ask for permission to use what staff are calling special “TikTok phones”.


DR is the first news organisation to issue such advice.


TikTok is run from Singapore but its parent company, ByteDance, is based in Beijing, leading to growing fears, in Europe and the United States, the Chinese government could compel it to spy on users or hand over their data.


TikTok and ByteDance have always denied those accusations.


But those denials have failed to reassure DR, which has also announced it is ending a project to use the hugely popular social-media app as a platform for its content.


“All employees are now advised against using and installing TikTok on work phones,” executive Niels Ammitzbøll told DR staff.


“In order to ensure that you can continue to work journalistically with the media when necessary, separate mobile phones are now purchased for TikTok use.”


The BBC has not issued any advice on TikTok and is in fact expanding its use of the app as a platform for news coverage.


Announced Action


On Wednesday, TikTok’s European arm announced detailed plans it hopes will enhance trust in its data-privacy practices.


Project Clover would see data centres built in Ireland and a separate security company “monitor data flows”, the company said. And it would make it harder to identify individual users in the data it collects.


A similar plan, Project Texas, is under way in the US.


But the day before Project Clover was announced, US President Joe Biden lent his administration’s support to a bill – promoted by Democrat Mark Warner, who chairs the senate intelligence committee, and Republican John Thune – granting powers to ban foreign-owned technology.


Since December, several high-profile organisations have announced action against TikTok:


28 December: TikTok banned from devices issued by the US House of Representatives


29 December: TikTok banned on all federal-government devices in the US


23 February: European Commission and European Council staff ordered to delete the app from their work phones and corporate devices


28 February: TikTok banned from all government-issued devices in Canada


28 February: TikTok banned from European Parliament staff phones


28 February: Denmark’s parliament urges politicians and staff to delete the app


1 March: the White House gives government agencies 30 days to ensure staff do not have TikTok on federal devices


9 March: DR advises staff to delete the app


TikTok has said such bans are “misguided and do nothing to further privacy or security”.


And China firmly opposes the action.


“How unsure of itself can the world’s top superpower like the US be to fear young people’s favourite app like that?” China foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said.


TikTok chief executive Shou Zi Chew will appear before the US Congress later this month.


On Tuesday, TikTok told BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight programme it feared becoming a “pawn” in diplomatic tensions between the US and China.


“It would be hard to deny that we’re caught up in those very broad geopolitics that really have nothing to do with us,” its US head of public policy Michael Beckerman said.


“Almost all the major tech companies also have engineers in China,” he said, and TikTok was not the only one to gather significant amounts of user data.


Read Also: Your Deleted Tiktok Content Can Still Be Used Against You By FBI

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