US Gov. Agencies Have 30 Days to Remove TikTok, Canada Follows Suit

The White House has given federal agencies 30 days to remove TikTok from all government-issued devices following the December 2022 ban on the social media app.

The announcement comes from Shalanda Young, director of the office of management and budget, who published a memorandum for executive departments and agencies on Monday.

All executive agencies and those contracted by them must delete any application from TikTok and its China-based parent company, ByteDance, within 30 days of the notice.

Further, within 90 days, agencies must include in contracts that the video app cannot be used on devices and must cancel existing contracts that require the app's use.

"We hope that Congress will explore solutions to their national security concerns about TikTok that won't have the effect of censoring the voices of millions of Americans," said the company's spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter on Twitter.

Still, according to Chris Vaughan, VP of technical account management at Tanium, the move shows that institutions are recognizing that a comprehensive approach is essential to protect US citizens from social media campaigns designed to further foreign political objectives and deepen divisions.

"Chinese intelligence tactics are fueled by the sustained collection of user data such as commerce and purchasing information, combined with biometrics and activity tracking, [which] feeds detailed intelligence to be used in operations with longer-term objectives," Vaughan told Infosecurity, referring to claims that TikTok and ByteDance share user data with the Chinese government.

"Such data can deliver targeted, timely psychological operations against individuals or groups of citizens."

According to the security expert, for instance, Russia was observed conducting such campaigns during the 2016 US election and UK's Brexit referendum.

"China's focus, meanwhile, has been on the theft of intellectual property, but there are indications that the [Chinese Communist Party] may look to information and influence operations to advance its strategic goals," Vaughan wrote in an email to Infosecurity.

"Such instances must be met head-on by the US and other western political leaders, and this ban begins to reflect that realization."

The 30-day deadline comes hours before Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced banning TikTok from all government-issued mobile devices. The European Commission unveiled similar plans last week.

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