Published on March 24, 2023 at 6:08 p.m.
Netflix and TikTok will now be banned from the phones of state officials. The government banned, this Friday, March 24, the installation and use of these “recreational” applications on the smartphones of 2.5 million people in total.
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In the viewfinder of the Ministry of the Public Service, the “risks in terms of cybersecurity and the protection of the data of public officials and the administration”. A decision which follows an analysis carried out by the National Agency for Information Systems Security (Anssi) and the Interministerial Digital Department (Dinum).
No specific list of banned apps yet
Among the applications now banned is “the triptych of gaming applications like Candy Crush, streaming like Netflix and recreational like TikTok”, explains the entourage of the Minister of Public Service Stanislas Guerini. The social network Twitter, whose content moderation policy has been debated since its takeover by Elon Musk, could also be part of this list, he specifies.
For the moment, the government has not communicated a precise list of applications to be banned within all ministries, but it is in principle all applications with a “recreational” function. Only a few individual exemptions may be granted for institutional communication needs, for example, explains the ministry.
A ban that came into effect immediately
The ban, notified to the various ministries through a “binding” instruction according to the government, comes into force immediately, and only concerns the professional telephones of state officials. For the time being, no system of sanctions is yet planned. The possible measures planned are left to the discretion of each ministry.
The measure comes in a context of great tension around the TikTok application, a subsidiary of the Chinese group ByteDance, suspected by many states of spying for the benefit of Chinese power. Consecutively, the White House, the European Commission, the Canadian and British governments have all decided to ban their civil servants from using the app on their work phones.
The Chinese application at the heart of strong geopolitical tensions
A global movement against TikTok first began in India in 2020. At the time, the social network was on a list of apps banned by New Delhi, following deadly clashes at the border with China. The Indian government thus claims to protect its sovereignty. The same year, US President Donald Trump in turn accused the Chinese application of spying for the benefit of Beijing.
TikTok executives have consistently denied these accusations, although they have conceded that their employees had access to US account information. The American Congress was hearing, this Thursday, March 23, Shou Zi Chew, the boss of the platform. The American government is threatening to purely and simply ban access to the application on American territory, if TikTok does not separate from its parent company, ByteDance.