The Netherlands is set to ban government employees from installing apps on their work phones, including the popular video-sharing service TikTok, over data security concerns.
THE HAGUE, The Netherlands — The Netherlands is set to ban government employees from installing apps on their work phones, including the popular video-sharing service TikTok, over data security concerns.
Countries including the US and the UK, as well as the European Union’s executive branch, have banned the use of TikTok on government employees’ phones over concerns that its Chinese owner, ByteDance, could share user data with the authoritarian government in Beijing.
“Public employees employed by the national government are immediately discouraged from installing and using applications from countries with an offensive cyber program against the Netherlands and/or the interests of the Netherlands on their mobile work devices,” the government said in a statement on Tuesday. did not identify TikTok by name. The new policy comes after lawmakers asked if central government employees could be banned from using the app on work devices.
The advice follows an assessment by the national intelligence agency AIVD, which warned that apps from such countries, including China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, “carry an increased risk of spying.”
A law passed by China in 2017 requires companies to provide the government with any personal data relevant to the country’s national security. There is no evidence that TikTok has handed over such data, but concerns arise from the sheer amount of user data it collects.
Alexandra van Haffelen, the Dutch digital minister, said in a statement that the new policy “goes beyond a single app ban. We are choosing a structural solution that central government officials can trust in their work in the digital world.”
The government said it plans to rapidly configure all mobile devices provided to central government employees “in a way that only pre-approved apps, software and/or features can be installed and used.”
The decision comes two weeks after the Dutch government angered Beijing by announcing that it plans to impose further export restrictions on machines that make advanced processor chips, joining US efforts to limit China’s access to materials used to make such chips. chips.