Belgium bans TikTok on federal government business phones

BRUSSELS, March 10 (Reuters) – Belgian federal government employees will no longer be allowed to use the Chinese video app TikTok on their work phones, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Friday.

De Croo said the Belgian National Security Council had warned of the risks associated with the large amounts of data collected by TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, and the fact that the company is required to cooperate with security services. Chinese intelligence.

“This is the reality,” the prime minister said in a statement.

“That’s why it makes sense to ban the use of TikTok on phones provided by the federal government. The security of our information must prevail.”

TikTok, in a statement, said it was disappointed with a decision it said was based on “fundamentally flawed information”.

The company said it stores user data in the United States and Singapore and is building data centers in Europe.

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“The Chinese government cannot force other sovereign nations to share data stored on their territory,” a company spokesperson said.

Last month, the European Commission and European Parliament banned TikTok from staff phones amid growing concerns about the company and the Chinese government’s ability to harvest user data or advance its interests.

Beijing has regularly denied having such intentions.

Belgium’s Flemish regional government announced on Thursday that it would restrict access to TikTok on staff phones, and other regional governments have been urged by De Croo to apply the same rules.

Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Bart Meijer; Editing by Jon Boyle, Christina Fincher and Deepa Babington

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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