Manitoba discussing possible TikTok ban for provincial employees

The Manitoba government said it is in discussions with the federal government about the possibility of banning TikTok from the mobile devices of provincial employees.

This statement comes after news broke on Monday that the Government of Canada is removing and blocking TikTok from all government-issued mobile devices as the app could leave users open to cyber attacks.

A note sent to Global Affairs Canada employees said Canada’s chief information officer made this decision to ensure the security of government information, systems and networks. The note, which was obtained by CTV News, also said a review of TikTok found that its data collection methods could put users at risk of cyber attacks.

In Winnipeg Tuesday, Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he is taking a pause from the platform.

“We’re going to be deactivating the account so it’s going to be suspended by the end of the day today,” he told reporters.

Now Manitoba may follow suit.

In a statement, the Manitoba government said it is in talks with the federal government and is assessing if similar policies should be put in place for provincial devices.

CTV News reached out to the City of Winnipeg to see if they would be doing anything similar. The city said it is aware of the federal ban, but said it would be premature to comment.

Quebec has already made this step, and banned the installation and use of TikTok on government devices.

A spokesperson for TikTok said Canada’s move to ban the app is “curious,” adding that the government didn’t cite any specific security concern or contact the company with questions.

Cyber security analyst Steven Lachance says TikTok data collection is no different than other social media apps. He feels this is only happening because of the connection with China.

“It’s much more anchored in politics than it is actual technological fact here,” he said.

Lachance said users of TikTok or any other app should go into the privacy settings on their device and look at the permissions asked for, including location, photos, and camera and microphone access.

He said users don’t have to share any of this information with the social media platform if they don’t want to. 

-With files from CTV’s Michael Woods and The Canadian Press.

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