Beginning on Tuesday, Canada will ban the video app TikTok from all devices obtained through the government.
The app "presents an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security," according to a statement from a government spokesperson. The decision was made after a review by Canada's chief information officer.
According to a spokesperson for TikTok, the company was disappointed by the choice.
It was announced just a few days after a similar ban by the European Commission.
According to Justin Trudeau, the prime minister, there is sufficient cause for concern about the app's security to warrant the change.
He said on Monday at a press conference close to Toronto, "This may be the first step, this may be the only step we need to take.".
Due to its links to the Chinese government and use of private information, TikTok has drawn criticism.
The Chinese company ByteDance Ltd. is the owner of the short-form video app.
In the latter part of last year, TikTok usage was prohibited for US federal employees, and several American universities have followed suit. In India and several other Asian nations, wider public bans have been put into place.
The company maintains that the Chinese government does not have access to user information and that the Chinese version of the app is distinct from the one used by users worldwide. However, the company acknowledged that some of its employees in China have access to European users' data last year.
On March 15, the ban will become effective for workers at the European Commission.
Canadian privacy authorities are also looking into TikTok because they have concerns about user data, specifically whether the company obtains "valid and meaningful" consent from users when collecting personal information.
The government "is committed to keeping government information secure," according to a statement from Mona Fortier, president of Canada's Treasury Board.
This week, the app will no longer be accessible on devices with government-issued phones and will no longer be available for download in the future.
"TikTok's data collection methods on a mobile device provide significant access to the contents of the phone," Ms. Fortier said. "Although using this application carries risks, there is currently no proof that government data has been compromised. ".
The nation's chief information officer sits on the Treasury Board, which regulates how the federal government conducts business.
An organization spokesperson claimed in a statement that the ban on devices obtained through the government was implemented "without citing any specific security concerns about TikTok or contacting us to discuss any concern prior to making this decision.".
The spokesperson said, "Singling out TikTok in this way does nothing to achieve that shared goal. We are always available to meet with our government officials to discuss how we protect the privacy and security of Canadians.
"All it does is prevent public servants from communicating with the public on a platform that millions of Canadians adore.