National government civil servants are to be banned from having the social media service TikTok on their work phones to remove any potential risk of espionage.
Junior justice minister Alexandra van Huffelen told MPs in a briefing on Tuesday that work phones used by the state’s 140,000 civil servants will be adapted so that they can only use approved apps. This means ‘espionage-sensitive apps’ will no longer be accepted, the minister said.
The move follows recommendations by national security service AIVD which has warned that ‘there is a higher risk of espionage from countries with cyber programmes which target the Netherlands and its interests’. Such countries include Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, the minister said.
Britain and Belgium have already banned civil servants from using TikTok and the European Commission has also voted in favour of a similar move. In the US the social media service is banned at a federal government level.
Van Huffelen said that while the measure applied only to government officials,’it is important to boost awareness of the data processing which these sorts of apps make possible.’
‘The cabinet will focus on this in the coming period and will update parliament before the summer,’ she said.
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