Toronto bans TikTok on city-issued devices
The TikTok logo is seen on a cell phone on Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Michael Dwyer
Published Friday, March 10, 2023 5:04PM EST
Toronto is banning TikTok on city-owned devices, becoming the latest jurisdiction in Canada to block the use of the video-sharing social media platform.
The city made the announcement on Friday afternoon, saying the move is in response to "recent concerns" about the app and is "a precautionary measure."
As a result, the app, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, will be deleted from about 350 city-issued devices where it has been downloaded, the city said. In addition, TikTok will also be blocked from all official devices to prevent future downloads.
"The city's decision to remove and block the application is in line with the approach of federal, provincial and municipal partners, and was made in consultation with the city's Technology Services Division, Office of the Chief Information Security Officer and Senior Leadership," the city said in a statement.
"While there have been no security or privacy breaches, the city is committed to ensuring the protection of its data and keeping information secure. The city continuously monitors its digital assets to detect and respond to cyber threats to protect privacy and government data and assets."
The ban comes a day after the Ontario government made a similar move. The province said it was taking "a proactive and precautionary approach" by removing TikTok from government-issued devices to ensure its data and networks are protected.
"While no data breaches have occurred, our government takes all allegations and concerns about data integrity incredibly seriously," Treasury Board President Prabmeet Sarkaria said in a statement. A spokesperson for TikTok said the company was disappointed with Ontario's decision.
On Friday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the province was considering banning the social media app in public schools.
Lecce said that he is "seeking counsel" on "further steps" that could be taken to limit or prohibit the use of TikTok in schools, including potentially blocking it on Wi-Fi networks.
Most jurisdictions in Canada, including Quebec, Alberta, and the Northwest Territories, have prohibited TikTok from government devices since the federal government did so last week. Ottawa's decision was prompted by the chief information officer's review of the app, which was found to present "an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security."
Even before Canada's ban, a growing number of countries worldwide had put a ban on TikTok due to concerns that it could share collected user data with the Chinese government.
- with files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press