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Thursday, July 18, 2024

TikTok contacted Taoiseach days after app ban


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Shortly after the issuance of advice that restricted the use of TikTok on official devices, the company expressed its disappointment by writing to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. TikTok also contacted the head of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to request a meeting regarding the matter.

In April, the NCSC advised the Irish government against installing or using TikTok on official public sector devices, except in exceptional cases where there is a business need. This advice aligned with similar actions taken by the US and UK governments, as well as EU institutions, due to concerns over cybersecurity related to the Chinese-owned platform.

Documents obtained by RTÉ News through Freedom of Information requests revealed that TikTok emailed Dr. Richard Browne, Director of the NCSC, on April 21, just hours after the Irish restrictions were confirmed. In the email, TikTok’s Head of Public Policy and Government Relations for Ireland acknowledged the upcoming guidance from the NCSC and requested a copy of the assessment, along with a meeting to ensure fair procedure.

The NCSC arranged a meeting with TikTok the following month in response to their request.

Six days after the restrictions were announced, TikTok’s Vice President of Public Policy for Europe, Theo Bertram, wrote a letter to Mr. Varadkar. In the letter, Bertram expressed disappointment regarding the NCSC’s guidance to the Irish government concerning the use of TikTok on public sector devices. He mentioned being encouraged by Varadkar’s statement that the guidance could be reversed based on further information and assurances from TikTok. The letter expressed TikTok’s willingness to discuss reversing the guidance and expressed regret for not being consulted during the NCSC’s assessment.

The letter from TikTok provided details about its ownership structure and highlighted the measures it is taking to address data security concerns. It mentioned the establishment of a Transparency and Accountability Centre in Dublin, inviting Varadkar to visit. The letter also emphasized the use of data centers in Ireland for storing EU user data, stating that the migration of European data to the Irish data center would continue until 2024.

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Owen is an excited writer with over 10 years of experience in the newspaper industry. Born and raised in Ireland, Owen developed a passion for writing and journalism at a young age. He pursued this passion by studying journalism in college and quickly landed a job as a reporter at a local newspaper. Over the years, Owen worked his way up the ranks in the newspaper industry, eventually becoming one of the top editors in the company.

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