Swedish military bans TikTok on work phones

STOCKHOLM (AFP): Sweden’s military said Monday it was banning staff members from using Chinese-owned TikTok on work devices due to security concerns, following a slew of similar decisions from authorities in Western countries.

In its decision, viewed by AFP, the armed forces said the assessment was based on “the reporting that has emerged through open sources regarding how the app handles user information and the actions of the owner company ByteDance”.

“Using mobile phones and tablets can in itself be a security risk so therefore we don’t want TikTok on our work equipment,” Guna Graufeldt, press secretary at the armed forces, told AFP.

Last week, the parliament in neighbouring Norway banned the use of the app on devices with access to parliament’s system and on Friday France banned public sector employees from downloading “recreational applications” on their work phones, which included TikTok.

TikTok is hugely popular worldwide for sharing short, viral videos.

The European Commission as well as governments in the Netherlands, Britain, the United States, Canada and New Zealand have told officials they cannot use TikTok on work devices over fears of ties to the communist government in Beijing.

The group has insisted that the Chinese government has no control over or access to its data.

But the firm acknowledged in November that some employees in China could access European user data, and in December it said employees had used the data to spy on journalists.

Beijing said last week that it did not ask companies to hand over data gathered overseas.