While members of the Riigikogu’s security committees are yet to examine the potential security issues related to TikTok in depth, they believe that, where possible, colleagues using the app should take action to mitigate the risks. The Estonian Information System Authority (RIA) has recommended that TikTok should only be used on a separate smart device.
Toomas Kivimägi, chair of the Riigikogu’s Security Authorities Surveillance Select Committee, says he is not yet entirely familiar with the all the details related to issue, but believes that it is, above all a question of security. “The issue has not yet reached the Security Authorities Surveillance Select Committee,” said Kivimägi. “We had a meeting on Monday on the subject of special communications, with people from the internal security service, the Ministry of Defense and foreign intelligence, but the [TikTok] issue has not been out on our agenda,” he explained.
Kivimägi said, that it was up to each politician to decide for themselves which social media platforms to use. “But if we look at it from the other side, no one has any obligation to use TikTok. It’s a case of everyone’s freedom to choose. It doesn’t mean there is a need to regulate anything, but if [the app] is not secure enough, then that’s another issue,” he added.
Kivimägi highlighted, that RIA are specialists in the field, and that their recommendations on the issue should definitely be followed. “However, if it is a recommendation, then it will remain as a recommendation. Again, and most importantly, I am not aware of any regulation that obliges a politician or official to use TikTok. If it’s not safe, then it shouldn’t be used, and should, where possible, be avoided, because there are other ways (to communicate),” Kivimägi said, adding that he himself does not use TikTok and has no plans to download the app in future.
Erki Savisaar (Center), a member of the Riigikogu’s National Defense Committee, also said, that he has not yet studied the security analysis of TikTok in depth. “Different platforms have different security risks, and if the RIA has issued this kind of assessment, it is worth taking it on board,” Savisaar said.
“In this case, it is a matter that should be discussed with security experts, however, if the same phone is also being used to process sensitive information, intended only for internal use, then it is definitely not compatible (with TikTok) and it would be wise to use different devices,” Savisaar said.
Like Kivimägi, Savisaar is not on TikTok, though understands that for some politicians it may be necessary. “Every politician is responsible for his or her own actions, and the fact is that politicians have to be present in those environments where the voters are,” he said.
Chris Wray, director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), said last week that TikTok was a threat to the country’s national security. Tõnu Tammer, head of the Estonian Information Systems Authority’s (RIA) Cyber Incident Reporting Team (CERT-EE), said that if TikTok is absolutely necessary for work, a separate smart device should be used to reduce security risks. The RIA banned its employees from using TikTok on work phones two years ago.
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