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Czech cyber watchdog calls TikTok a 'security threat'

March 8, 2023

The Czech cyber watchdog has issued a warning against using popular Chinese video sharing app TikTok citing security threats.

TikTok's logo
TikTok has come under increased scrutiny by Western countriesImage: Omar Marques/SIOA/Zuma/dpa/picture alliance

The Czech Republic's National Cyber and Information Security Agency has cautioned that TikTok is a security threat.

TikTok, a Chinese video sharing app, has come under increased scrutiny recently in many countries over data handling procedures.

The watchdog further warned that TikTok could pose a security threat if installed on 'devices accessing critical information and communication infrastructure.'

Why are there growing concerns?

Western countries are worried that the popular app may give Chinese authorities access to sensitive user data.

"The agency is concerned about a potential security threat stemming from the use of TikTok primarily due to the amount of user data that is collected by the app as well as the way the data is handled," the regulator said.

Further concerns stem from the fact that TikTok's parent company, ByteDance,"falls under the legal jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China."

Symbolbild | Tiktok und Chinesische Flagge
Image: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/picture alliance

The Czech cyber authority further added that "Such large-scale data collection is concerning due to the legal and political environment of the People´s Republic of China (PRC), given that ByteDance, the developer and administrator of TikTok, falls under the legal jurisdiction of the PRC."

Politicians and officials were advised against using the app, and the wider public was urged to consider whether to use the app as well.

ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, has previously said that concerns about the app are fueled by misinformation and has denied using the app for spying on Westerners.

Beijing on the other hand has denied having any intentions of using the app for espionage purposes.

The Czech Republic joins a list of several countries that have taken steps to limit TikTok´s use.

The U.S. gave a 30-day limit last month to remove the app from all federal devices and systems.

The European Parliament, the European Commission and the EU Council have banned TikTok from all staff phones.

Canada and Denmark have also barred their staff from having TikTok on their phones.

In an earlier report released in 2022, the Czech national intelligence agency based in Prague named China as a major threat targeting Czech cyberspace.

dmn/ar (Reuters, AFP)