Why are relations with Europe souring?

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The European Commission has asked its employees to remove the TikTok social network application from the phones that use its professional services, in the interest of protecting their data. A ban is not surprising after numerous critical statements by the EU against the Chinese platform.

The TikTok app
Employees in the European Union must remove the TikTok app from their phones by March 15. // Source: Pixabay

Europeans still have access to TikTok, but this will no longer be the case for employees of the European Union. On the morning of Thursday, February 23, the European Commission (the executive body of the EU) sent an email to its employees, reveals the international media Euractiv. The instruction: remove the application of the Chinese social network TikTok from all smartphones that use the professional services of the Union. Even on their personal phones.

«To protect Commission data and increase its cybersecurity, the EC Management Board [Commission européenne] has decided to suspend the TikTok app on corporate devices and personal devices registered with the Commission’s mobile device servicesHe quotes Euractiv, who had access to the email.

Fear of access to EU data

In fact, it is the question of the risk of TikTok’s access to EU data that is the catalyst for this decision. Whether personal or work, these smartphones use ByteDance’s social networking app alongside other business apps, such as the Commission’s official email app or Skype For Business, raising fears of sensitive or even confidential data leaks. . In his email, the EU executive also warns that these applications will be deactivated if employees do not comply with the rule before March 15.

Therefore, the European Union is following the example of the United States, which also banned TikTok on the phones of its government employees at the end of December.

TikTok targeted by two recent cases

A decision that is not really surprising: TikTok has been in the spotlight of the European Union for a few months. In early January, several European commissioners (sort of like EU ministers) confronted CEO Shou Zi Chew with two recent cases involving the Chinese social network: TikTok’s admission of giving access to European user data to its employees in China, in November, followed by revelations about spying on journalists from the American newspaper Forbes, at the end of December.

The first case goes against the European regulation on the protection of personal data (GDPR), while the second is framed in a context of tension between the West and the Chinese dictatorship, accused of using TikTok to make policies.

In response to the February 23 email, a TikTok spokesperson expressed his astonishment on LinkedIntelling himself “upset“that the EU did not know”distinguish concerns about state policies from concerns about Police Company“. TikTok asks to speak to the European Commission to “set the record straight».

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