Canada Vs. TikTok: Federal, Provincial Regulators To Launch Joint Investigation

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada announced on Thursday that Canada is opening a combined federal and provincial inquiry into the short-video app TikTok due to concerns about the platform’s acquisition, usage, and sharing of personal information.

According to the commissioner’s office, the federal privacy regulator, as well as provincial counterparts in Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta, will investigate whether TikTok’s actions are in accordance with Canadian privacy rules.

They will investigate “whether valid and meaningful consent is obtained for the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information,” according to the statement.

In December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) was keeping an eye on TikTok.

“I think people are concerned about TikTok. I think people are obviously watching very carefully,” Trudeau said. “The… CSE is one of the best cybersecurity agencies in the world and they’re watching very carefully.”

TikTok’s spokesperson stated that the company is willing to meet with the Canadian government.

“We continue to have a constructive relationship with the Canadian government, and engage across departments to demonstrate how we protect the security and privacy of Canadian users, and to respond to any questions that officials may have,” said the spokesperson.

TikTok’s parent firm ByteDance continues to insist that the Chinese Communist Party has no control over the company, that it has never given Canadian user data to the Chinese government, and that it would not do so if asked.

The fresh inquiry also adds another possible thorn in Sino-Canadian relations, which have been strained for a variety of reasons, including Ottawa’s recent charges that China attempted to influence its elections and was discreetly conducting air and marine surveillance.

Canada has joined governments and authorities around the world in probing TikTok over concerns that China could exploit the software to gather users’ data or advance its own goals.

TikTok has been removed from phones of the European Union’s two most powerful policymaking agencies, while the US Congress in December enacted legislation prohibiting federal employees from using the software on government-owned devices.

The Senate is also slated to introduce legislation to ban TikTok in the whole country.

TikTok has been banned from government devices in 31 states, with five states (Hawaii, New York, California, Massachusetts, and Vermont) proposing bans and five others (Louisiana, Florida, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania) issuing bans in specific government agencies. Other federal agencies, including the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, have also banned the app. Various colleges and universities across the US have also moved to ban the app from its grounds.

According to a census-balanced online poll conducted last spring, approximately 26% of adults in Canada use TikTok, up from 15% two years ago. The same 2022 study said 76% of Canadian individuals aged 18 to 24 had TikTok accounts.

Information for this briefing was found via Reuters, CBC, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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