Canada security intelligence chief warns China can use TikTok to spy on users

TikTok spokesperson says it never shared Canadian user data with the Chinese government

By Reuters

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TikTok logo. — Photo: Reuters file
TikTok logo. — Photo: Reuters file

Published: Fri 17 May 2024, 8:12 PM

The head of Canada's Security Intelligence Service warned Canadians against using video app TikTok, saying data gleaned from its users "is available to the government of China", CBC News reported on Friday.

"My answer as director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is that there is a very clear strategy on the part of the government of China to be able to acquire personal information from anyone around the world," CSIS Director David Vigneault told CBC in an interview set to air on Saturday.

"These assertions are unsupported by evidence, and the fact is that TikTok has never shared Canadian user data with the Chinese government, nor would we if asked," a TikTok spokesperson said in response to a request for comment.

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Canada in September ordered a national security review of a proposal by TikTok to expand the short-video app's business in the country. Vigneault said he will take part in that review and offer advice, CBC reported.

"We will continue to engage with Canadian officials and would welcome the opportunity to meet with CSIS to discuss how we protect the privacy and security of Canadians," the spokesperson added.

TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance sued in US federal court this month seeking to block a law signed by President Joe Biden that would force the divestiture of the short video app used by 170 million Americans or ban it.

The law, signed by Biden on April 24, gives ByteDance until January 19 to sell TikTok or face a ban. The White House has said it wants Chinese-based ownership to end on national security grounds but not a ban on TikTok.


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