On March 21, 2023, the Dutch Cabinet urged civil servants to stop using apps such as TikTok on their work phones and to uninstall the apps. This call follows an advisory report by the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD. Currently, there is no ban (yet), but State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen (Digitalization) warns on behalf of the Cabinet about apps from countries such as China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. The AIVD indicates in the report that these countries have an “offensive cyber program” against the Netherlands. This makes apps like TikTok susceptible to espionage. In the short term, the Dutch Government is working toward a situation where it is impossible to install insecure apps such as TikTok on all the phones of government officials.
The Dutch government is not the first to stand up against the use of TikTok. Governments in the United States, Belgium, Canada and the United Kingdom, among others, have previously banned the use of TikTok. It has also been decided at the European level that employees of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council will no longer be allowed to use the app.
The Take Back Your Privacy Foundation is pleased that it is becoming more widely known that TikTok commits widespread privacy violations. Although the Take Back Your Privacy Foundation is not advocating a ban, it is good to see that the AIVD and the Dutch Government are taking a critical view at the privacy policies of apps like TikTok. The Take Back Your Privacy Foundation will continue to monitor these developments closely.