It’s no shock to see another country banning TikTok from government phones, but France is taking the restrictions a step further. Le Monde reports the French government is banning “recreational” apps like TikTok, Twitter, Netflix and even Candy Crush from public servants’ devices. The apps represent cybersecurity risks that could jeopardize data for both the employees and the administration, according to the office of public service minister Stanislas Guerini.
The government hasn’t provided an exact list of banned apps. However, Guerini said certain there could be some exceptions for the sake of necessary communication. This won’t prevent a social media team from posting content, in other words. The ban takes effect immediately, but the penalties for defying the rule can be decided at the “managerial level,” Guerini’s office says. The approach doesn’t affect personal devices.
The clampdown comes after the US federal government, dozens of states, Canada, the European Commission and the UK have banned TikTok on their workers’ devices. In those cases, the rationale has been similar: officials are worried the Chinese government could collect data about important individuals, spread propaganda and compel ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company) to hand over sensitive information.
TikTok has repeatedly denied collaborating with the Chinese government. In testimony before a House committee yesterday, CEO Shou Chew said ByteDance was “not an agent of China” and that American user data wouldn’t be accessible to staff in other countries by the time a migration project wraps up later this year.
The French policy, however, isn’t aimed at any one country or app category. Instead, it represents a general concern that entertainment apps may put government data at unnecessary risk. That’s not so hot for employees hoping to watch Netflix during lunch, but it may reassure politicians worried employees might inadvertently expose info through their social media accounts.