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TikTok use draws scrutiny from Bank of Ireland as government bans spread

EU, US and Canada have banned the Chinese-owned app from government phones 


TikTok has been labelled a security threat by some governments. Photo: Kiichiro Sato/AP

TikTok has been labelled a security threat by some governments. Photo: Kiichiro Sato/AP

TikTok has been labelled a security threat by some governments. Photo: Kiichiro Sato/AP

Bank of Ireland is keeping TikTok use on company phones “under review” after the US, EU and Canada banned the video sharing app on government devices, the Irish Independent has learned

 It is the first time a company here has indicated it may act on the issue.

Use of the Chinese-owned app is coming under greater scrutiny amid high-profile moves by Western government agencies to restrict employee usage on state-owned devices such as phones and tablets. A TikTok spokesperson said such bans were “misguided” and based on “misinformation”.

Bank of Ireland did not disclose any details on staff use of the app.

“We continue to keep it under review,” a spokesperson said by email.

Majority state-owned Permanent TSB said it does not discuss its IT systems.

“Permanent TSB has robust security measures and access controls in place across all company devices to ensure customer and corporate data is protected,” a spokesperson said.

TikTok has come under pressure in recent months over fears that user data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government. Yesterday, a US House committee voted to grant President Joe Biden the power to ban apps that are considered security risks.

Companies’ use of the app, owned by China’s Bytedance, is likely to face increased scrutiny as the Government here seeks fresh advice on whether to follow the EU in a ban.

The European Parliament is the latest institution to ask staff and MEPs to uninstall the app from work devices and “strongly” recommended removing it from personal phones and tablets. Officials have until March 20 to comply.

Green MEP Ciarán Cuffe said the ban could have a “knock-on effect” on firms but said it was wise for governments to be cautious. “A little bit of healthy paranoia is no harm, particularly when there is a war on our eastern border.”

The TikTok ban comes after the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) urged the Oireachtas to remove security cameras manufactured by Chinese government-backed Hikvision. Mr Cuffe said Ireland should “think twice” before “essentially placing a security blanket” over Chinese technology.

TikTok has over 150 million users in Europe. Last year the platform announced an additional 1,000 jobs in Ireland that would bring its workforce here to 3,000.

A TikTok spokesperson said: ”We share a common goal with governments that are concerned about user privacy, but these bans are misguided and do nothing to further privacy or security.”

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