Czech government should ban government employees from using Chinese social network due to risk of misuse of sensitive personal data

Why is using TikTok dangerous? For example, as US FBI intelligence chief Christopher Wray warned in early December, the TikTok social network owned by Chinese company ByteDance, it is possible that the Chinese government is using TikTok to collect sensitive user data and use it for espionage operations. FBI chief Wray also warned that China may be influencing TikTok’s algorithms, manipulating content and getting pro-Chinese narratives to TikTok users. In the previous few years, Western media had already discovered that non-public data of American and European TikTok users was routinely accessed by employees of ByteDance’s parent company operating in China. The fact that ByteDance was inducing TikTok employees to leak pro-Chinese narratives to TikTok users through the app, as FBI chief Wray warned a few days ago, was highlighted by BuzzFeed in July this year. The information was obtained from former employees of the company.

How is the United States dealing with the problem? Five US states have already banned government employees from using the TikTok app since 2020 – most recently Texas, which decided to take the step just days after the aforementioned warning from FBI chief Wray. However, the United States is also dealing with a nationwide ban on the Chinese social network. In early November, Brendan Carr, one of the five members of the US Federal Communications Commission, called on the US government to ban TikTok. Shortly after, influential US Senator Marco Rubio and US House of Representatives leader Mike Gallagher also called for a nationwide ban.

How to solve the TikTok problem in the Czech Republic? The Czech government should take into account all existing warnings about TikTok and, like the US states, ban the use of the Chinese TikTok app by government employees on their work phones. Similarly, the Czech government should also ban the establishment of any profiles of Czech institutions on this platform.