BIZ BUZZ: Partial TikTok ban imminent?
Will TikTok be banned in the Philippines? It might be if sufficient evidence emerges that the China-influenced social media app poses a national security threat.
All eyes are currently on the National Security Council (NSC), which has created a task force to investigate TikTok in response to concerns regarding the social media platform’s potential impact on national security.
The NSC said it had assembled a task force focused on scrutinizing the security implications of the popular app, with a particular emphasis on its potential influence within the security sector.
Headed by NSC Deputy Director General Jonathan Malaya, other members include the NSC’s cybersecurity team and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, which is the primary intelligence gathering and analysis arm of the government.
Malaya is particularly concerned about the social media firm’s parent, Bytedance, which is a Chinese company and, as such, subject to China’s laws. His concerns echo those expressed by officials in the United States and in the European Union. The United States, in particular, has banned TikTok from all government-issued devices.
Malaya said the ad hoc body was wrapping up its investigation and will submit its recommendation to his boss, National Security Adviser Edgardo Año before yearend.
Meanwhile, Año recently said that he would not hesitate to recommend to President Marcos a nationwide ban if proven that TikTok is indeed being used to gather sensitive and private data from its 44 million Filipino users.
The official is particularly concerned that the app is being used to advance China’s interests and put Philippines’ national security at risk, especially with the ongoing tensions in the West Philippine Sea due to overlapping territorial claims.
A recent NSC statement also noted that once the probe probe is completed, it will determine whether to recommend a ban on the use of the video sharing platform, especially on devices used by government personnel in the security sector.
Some knowledgeable parties are now saying that at least a partial ban is imminent. There is apparently a strong chance that restrictions will be imposed among the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and the Coast Guard. Employees of civilian agencies involved in national security such as the NSC itself and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency are most likely to be affected, too.
As it stands, the NSC has already urged government employees in the national security sector not to use the TikTok app in government-issued gadgets as the social media app may be vulnerable to cyber espionage. So, as always, abangan! — Daxim L. Lucas