Is Ireland TikTok’s Weak Ireland?

Experts have warned that Ireland risks becoming a weak link in European security should it fail to ban TikTok like other countries have. However, Simon Harris, Ireland’s Justice Minister said that he hasn’t received any security advice to ban TikTok on official devices, even after several other Governments did so.

Declan Power says that Ireland may find itself being regarded as a weak link in European security. Ministers in Britain are banned from using TikTok on their work devices and phones amid security fears. Belgium, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States are other countries currently imposing bans, while the same applies to anybody working at the European Commission.

Northern Ireland Civil Service told to Delete Tiktok

Urged to Delete App

Corporates have also not been left behind when it comes to TikTok bans. The BBC recently urged staff to delete the app from their work phones due to security and privacy fears. It comes amid concerns that data the platform harvests from phones could be shared with the Chinese government by ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, which is headquartered in Beijing.

Experts have raised concerns over child safety on the platform following the Government ban. Declan Power, now former Irish soldier and leading security expert, has urged the Irish Government to step up its guard.

Power told the Irish Sun that the decision whether to ban TikTok on official devices should primarily be determined by the threat level to national security. He then added that if Ireland’s allies and partners consider it such a threat, it would also be prudent for Ireland to take note and avoid being considered a weak link in European security once more.

In spite of the warning, however, Justice Minister Harris stated that he hasn’t received any security advice to change the usage policy in relation to TikTok. He stated that Ireland continually updates guidance and takes advice from the National Cyber Security Centre that sits within the Department of Communications.

Harris added that he hadn’t received any advice to change the usage policy and that Ireland takes security very seriously. He also stated that he takes security very seriously and that the appropriate use of Government devices with regard to social media apps is something that’s always in mind and continually reviewed.

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese tech giant and has amassed over 1 billion users worldwide since its launch 6 years ago. Users are asked to give the app access to their geolocation data and contacts when they join. Cyber experts have warned of TikTok’s potential to act as China’s “Trojan Horse”.

Call For Ban on TikTok

Colm Markey, Irish MEP, has written to Taoiseach and Ceann Comhairle, urging them to ban TikTok. Fine Gael Midlands-North West MEP insists that Ireland needs to be particularly cautious with TikTok since its an app that the Chinese government could get information from.

He stated that under Chinese law, the government has the right to go into any company and access all its information, which means that if a Chinese company holds Irish data, it is possible that the Chinese government could end up accessing it.

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