Time to ban TikTok, EU lawmakers tell governments
Parliament calls to curtail Huawei, TikTok and Kaspersky to limit foreign interference in Europe.
The European Parliament is calling on the bloc’s national governments to ban the use of TikTok for government staff.
Members of the Parliament on Thursday passed a report aimed at stopping foreign governments from meddling in the Continent’s politics through disinformation, cyberattacks, and the disruption of critical infrastructure.
As part of its recommendations, lawmakers urged all national governments to fall in line with restrictions the European Union, a number of capitals and Western countries outside of Europe already imposed on the use of Chinese-owned social media application TikTok. The video-sharing app loved by teenagers around the world is facing allegations from Western security services of facilitating espionage, failing to protect personal data, and even corrupting young minds.
The report is part of work in the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation (INGE), which launched in 2020 in an effort to stop states like Russia and China exert influence on European politics.
The EU institutions have been faced with increased scrutiny of how foreign countries lobby and influence decision-making, following a criminal investigation in Belgium into whether lawmakers took bribes from Qatar and Morocco.
“I often hear that democracy around the world is in retreat. I would say that it is an incorrect statement. Democracy is not simply in retreat. Democracy is under attack,” Sandra Kalniete, the Latvian lawmaker who drafted Parliament’s recommendations, said in the European Parliament.
Kalniete said Europe still needed “a specific sanctions regime on foreign information manipulation and interference” and should “not be afraid to call out those seeking intentionally and in a coordinated way to manipulate our democracy.”
TikTok was not the only company to be name-checked; lawmakers also called on the Council of the EU and the European Commission to exclude the use of Chinese and Russian technology firms Huawei, ZTE and Kaspersky, and NtechLab, a Russian facial recognition firm.