TikTok, the video-sharing app that has boomed in popularity, has had a tricky time of late. The app has faced lawsuits around its use of children’s data, allegations of political censorship, and is currently subject to an ongoing national security review from the US Committee on Foreign Investment.
It may not come as a surprise therefore that the app has now been banned by the US Navy on personnel’s government-issued devices.
The app has been deemed a “cybersecurity threat,” and Navy personnel were instructed to not install the app, or uninstall it if they already had it downloaded to a Navy device. Anyone not complying with the ban will not be able to access the Navy Marine Corps Intranet. The Navy has so far refused to clarify why TikTok has been categorized as such, but Lt. Col. Uriah Orland, spokesperson for the Pentagon, said that the action was taken as part of efforts to “address existing and emerging threats.”
The nature of the penalty – blocking access to the Navy Marine Corps Intranet – may imply that the Pentagon has concerns about the TikTok app accessing other information on a user’s device, though this is purely speculation in lieu of further clarification from the Pentagon.
What we do know is that this is just the latest in a string of tit-for-tat moves by the US and Chinese authorities to clamp-down on foreign-made technologies. The US has taken a tough stance on Chinese-made communications products and services – most notably in the case of Huawei – and earlier this month China’s Communist Party announced a directive to replace all government computer equipment with Chinese alternatives.