Exec broaches TikTok ban in security agencies
Like some countries, the Philippines should now consider banning the use of the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok at least among personnel connected to the military, police, and other security agencies.
Jonathan Malaya, assistant director general of the National Security Council (NSC), broached the idea on Saturday.
Malaya said the country should be more “security conscious” in view of the “information operation and psychological warfare” being waged by other countries, which he did not name.
Several countries, namely the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia — collectively called the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance — have banned TikTok on government-issued devices over fears that the Chinese Communist Party could use the app for espionage or propaganda.
Countries imposing a partial or selective ban (mostly among government employees) include Belgium, Denmark, members of the European Union, France, Latvia, Norway, Pakistan, and Taiwan.
Not for civilians
“Should there be a need for the ban, it will not be for public schools, teachers, and civilians but for the members of the security sector,” Malaya said in a media forum.
“I would think we should seriously consider (it) for the security sector alone, not for the other civilian agencies of government… And precisely, the reason is for operational security,” he added.
Malaya said the NSC had been monitoring other countries — including the country’s Western allies — that had imposed such a ban on government-issued devices.
“But we have to study this carefully if it is merited based on national security considerations,” he said.
Malaya acknowledged that some sectors might see the move as a curtailment of freedom of speech and expression.
At the same forum, Col. Medel Aguilar, spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the military had “initiated professional measures so that we can be insulated from the spyware in these kinds of applications.”
“There is a policy already on the use of social media platforms to make sure the security of the organization is not exposed or compromised, and the credibility of the [AFP] and its personnel are not also compromised,” Aguilar said.
Data available online showed that TikTok currently has more than 1.67 billion users worldwide.