The Irish cyber unit advised government departments and state agencies on Friday not to use the Chinese-owned video app TikTok on official devices.
TikTok is on the “very high end, if not the highest end, in terms of the amount of user data it collects,” according to the head of Ireland’s National Cyber Security Centre, and this poses a risk given the nature of Chinese intelligence-gathering law.
“The issue here is not what we know to be happening. The issue here rather is what we can’t rule out is happening,” NCSC director Richard Browne told national television RTE.
“Once the risk exists in this kind of context, then it puts us in a situation where the logical argument is that we take a sensible risk-brd approach and ensure that government data can’t be compromised in this way.”
TikTok has been blocked in a number of Western countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, and other European Union member states, due to security concerns.
Last month, the app was also prohibited by the EU’s two most powerful policymaking bodies.
TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese corporation ByteDance, is being scrutinised by countries and regulators because of concerns that China’s government could exploit the app to gather users’ data or advance its own interests.
The NCSC stated that there was no reason why lawmakers could not use the software on their personal devices, and that it may be used on official devices in rare instances, such as by a press office.