The US, Canada and EC banned TikTok on work phones amid concerns about the data coming into the hands of the Chinese government.
“For security reasons, I have deleted my TikTok account and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is prohibited from using this app in smart devices where ministry e-mails are installed,” said Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs (New Unity) on Twitter.
Drošības apsvērumu dēļ esmu dzēsis savu Tiktok kontu, @arlietas liedz izmantot šo aplikāciju viedierīcēs, kurās instalēti ministrijas epasti— Edgars Rinkēvičs (@edgarsrinkevics) March 1, 2023
Deputy Head of the Information Technology (IT) Safety Incident Prevention Body “Cert.lv”, Varis Teivāns, said that even if data risks have no evidence yet, there are no reasons to have work-unrelated applications on phones assigned to national authorities.
“That good practice would be if we look at telephone devices as part of the information and communication technology infrastructure, and it should be covered by the security policy. It is similar to how some time ago it was debated whether anti-virus products originating in Russia should be available in the public administration,” said Teivāns. “Are we allowing their data to potentially be sent to a company whose data would be available to the Chinese government if such a need arose?”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also points out that the ban on the use of the TikTok app is a preventive measure. It was recommended by the Ministry's internal security service.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs press secretary, Diana Eglīte, said that the “success of the TikTok app is based on the high precision of how they are analyzed and can guess what everyone wants to see. And consequently, there is concern that such user-analysis capabilities may be used not only for entertainment but also to achieve unwanted targets when data on diplomatic service is collected".
The Welfare Ministry also plans to ban TikTok on work devices, LETA reported. At the moment, an internal regulatory framework is in place, which requires that if your phone has access to work e-mail, TikTok is not allowed. On the other hand, there is no reason for such a ban on private phones that have nothing to do with work.
Estonia already adopted the ban in 2020 on the basis of the above-mentioned risks.
Meanwhile, the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense announced that it does not currently see any reason to limit TikTok to the national authorities' work smart devices, but does not recommend the use of this Chinese application, reported Lithuanian public media LRT.
“Cert.lv” will not, for the time being, ask national authorities to delete this app, whether it is necessary or not. However, the authority said that the Cabinet regulations already provide that non-work-related applications may not be downloaded. And the implementation of such a policy should be verified by every national authority.