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TikTok raising questions about cyber security in Sask. schools


As more institutions move to ban TikTok from their devices the public is left wondering if the app is safe to use.

The micro-video platform seems innocent enough, but the concern lies with it’s ownership, according to Marc Saltzman, tech expert and author.

“It is a Chinese company and any Chinese organization or individual must hand over information to government if requested,” he says.

Saltzman says governments see it as a political threat, especially with the recent election tampering controversy and the Chinese balloon flying over North America last month.

Sask Polytechnic announced Tuesday that it’s removing the popular app from its institution owned devices.

“This decision is due to recent announcements by the Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan, providing a similar direction for all government work phones while the platform is under investigation by the federal privacy commissioner,” the statement said.

The federal government announced that investigation to look into TikTok’s use and collection of users’ personal information.

Both governments removed the app last month.

CTV News asked some post secondary students what they think of Polytech’s move.

Nobu Ndlovu is a student at the University of Saskatchewan and wonders why TikTok is viewed as more invasive than others.

“There’s already information out there in the world so for me personally, I feel it shouldn’t be that much of a risk,” she said.

Saltzman has a similar thought.

“TikTok is no different than any other social media platform. Snap Chat, Instagram, Facebook; they are collecting data about users. Data is the currency here. They are free,” Saltzman added.

At the University of Saskatchewan, officials haven’t banned TikTok but said this in a statement:

“We discourage the use of all social media platforms on USask-owned devices, but do not have policies that prohibit it at this time. We have not yet determined it necessary to adjust processes related TikTok at this time.”

If the app were to be removed, some students we spoke to wouldn’t be too concerned.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to give all your information to third party companies so its probably a good idea for university students to spend more time on school instead of on their phones,” Callum Cabana told CTV News.

Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools tells CTV News they already had TikTok banned for privacy and security concerns, while Saskatoon Public Schools doesn’t have any specific directive on using TikTok, though it’s not accessible on their Wi-Fi.

The City of Saskatoon, meanwhile, doesn’t have a TikTok specific ban but said they don’t have an active presence on TikTok. The use of non-approved software like social media, games, music, and video files is not permitted on city-owned computers/devices.

So there doesn’t appear to be a clear cut decision across the board, but for some, limiting TikTok use has many benefits.

“It’s brain rot, you just scroll and scroll and scroll,” Cabana said. Top Stories

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