Legault refuses to quit TikTok despite safety fears

Legault refuses to leave TikTok despite safety fears< /p> UPDATE DAY

Even though the British Parliament and Quebec's Commission d'accès à l'information (CAI) in Quebec are concerned about the application of TikTok videos, Prime Minister François Legault will continue to use the Chinese platform.  

“No private information from the Prime Minister ends up on his account and it is managed by our social media team,” assured Nadia Talbot, press officer in the Prime Minister’s office. Minister François Legault.

Last Wednesday, the British Parliament closed its pilot TikTok account after concerns from MPs, who feared being spied on by Beijing.

The “ watchdog” concerned

In mid-July, Le Journalreported that Quebecers' personal data watchdog, the Commission d'accès à l'information (CAI), is “concerned” about TikTok, which has access to the data of its young users.

In recent days, the Prime Minister's Office has confirmed that it is aware of these security issues, while wanting to be reassuring.

“We have no reason to believe, at this time, in a security breach at the level of the Prime Minister's TikTok account”, explained Nadia Talbot.

“However, we take note of the fear of the Information Access Commission vis-à-vis possible interference from the Beijing regime and we will remain attentive to its recommendations regarding the protection of personal data, if necessary”, she continued, in saying they were ready to follow the British example if the Commission recommended it.

The other parties too

Like Mr. Legault, the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, Dominique Anglade, also has a TikTok account. Invited by Le Journal to comment on security issues, the political party remained silent.

At the Parti Québécois, which has a party account, it was said to be “ vigilant with regard to the evolution of data protection on this platform”.

At Quebec solidaire, which has the same type of account, it is estimated that if TikTok “presents risks for the security of our personal data, it is up to the Quebec government to take concrete measures”.

TikTok defends itself

Joined by Le Journal, TikTok repeated that it had never shared user data from here with Beijing and that it nor would it if asked.

“We meet regularly with Canadian elected and ministerial officials from all levels of government to answer their questions and explain our data protection processes,” we said.

“We continue to be happy to meet with any managers who want to learn more about how we protect user data,” it concluded.

At the end of June , when Le Journal asked Quebec's Ministry of Cybersecurity and Digital if it advised businesses here to stop use TikTok, the ministry did not want to comment on this point. 

A very real danger of electoral interference 

Cybersecurity experts believe that the presence of the Premier of Quebec, François Legault, on the Chinese social network TikTok, is a very bad idea as the elections approach.

Legault refuses to leave TikTok despite security fears

Paul Laurier, President of Vigiteck

“It's a lot of information that, one day or another, could arise in false accounts to give false information, and even to interfere in elections,” warns Paul Laurier, ex-investigator at the Sûreté du Québec. Quebec, trained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“These softwares are enormously talkative. They leave a lot of metadata: usage, hours, texts, camera and updates, which can send us to dangerous links”, image the president of Vigiteck. 

“ China is potentially being offered a gold platter in intelligence and intelligence: what is the Prime Minister doing? Who does he meet? Where? Why?”, also fears the big boss of the StreamScan company, Karim Ganame.

“If the PM team uses it by turning off geolocation, it can be fine”, nuance from his side Éric Parent, CEO of Eva Technologies.

“Precautionary Principle”

According to Karim Ganame, TikTok knows a lot.

< p>“The precautionary principle would therefore mean that by default, the Prime Minister is not there, given the suspicions hanging over TikTok,” he analyzes.

According to him, we would have interest in approaching the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to find the right approach, while waiting for Canada to make an official decision on TikTok.

“It's like Tom Thumb. You leave a lot of signs that the intelligence agencies love,” concludes Paul Laurier.