China criticizes the US for banning federal devices from TikTok

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After federal employees were instructed to remove the video app TikTok from government-issued phones, China accused the US of overreacting.

The White House gave government organizations 30 days starting on Monday to make sure that employees' personal devices did not contain the Chinese-owned app.

The order comes after recent actions taken in a similar manner by the EU and Canada.

China's foreign ministry issued an accusation against the US of using state power improperly to repress foreign businesses.

During a news briefing on Tuesday, spokeswoman Mao Ning stated, "We firmly oppose those wrong actions.". The US government should stop suppressing businesses, uphold the values of a free market and competitiveness, and create an environment that is welcoming to foreign businesses operating there. ".

She continued, "How self-conscious can the world's leading superpower like the US be to fear the favorite app of young people like that?".

The popular video-sharing app, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, has recently raised concerns among Western officials.

Some intelligence agencies are concerned that when the app is downloaded to government devices, sensitive data could be exposed due to claims that TikTok harvests user data and gives it to the Chinese government.

TikTok asserts that it doesn't operate any differently from other social media companies and that it would never submit to a request to share user data.

In order to protect sensitive data, US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young instructed agencies on Monday to remove the app from all state-issued phones.

According to the agency, the recommendations represent "a crucial step forward in addressing the risks presented by the app to sensitive government data.".

TikTok has already been blocked from some federal agencies' devices, including the White House, the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State.

The move, according to US Federal Chief Information Security Officer Chris DeRusha, highlighted the administration of President Joe Biden's "ongoing commitment to securing our digital infrastructure and protecting the security and privacy of the American people.".

The announcement on Tuesday comes after US House of Representatives legislation was approved in December that forbade the use of TikTok on government-issued phones and gave the White House 60 days to issue agency directives.

Additionally, additional legislation that would give President Biden the authority to impose a national app ban is anticipated to be passed by congressional Republicans in the coming weeks.

Beginning on Tuesday, Canada will also impose a new ban on the app on devices used by the government. The app presented "an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security," the chief information officer of the nation concluded after reviewing it.

The change was necessary, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, because of the level of security concerns surrounding the app.

At a press conference on Monday near Toronto, he said, "This may be the first step, this may be the only step we need to take.".

Employees were instructed to remove the TikTok app from their phones and work-issued devices last week by the European Commission and the European Council.

According to a commission employee, the measure aims to defend the organization against cyber-security risks and practices that could be used to launch cyber-attacks against the commission's corporate environment.

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