Norwegian government bans ministers and officials from using TikTok

No Norwegian ministers, state secretaries or political advisers will not be permitted to use either TikTok or Telegram on official work phones, tablets and devices, the Norwegian governemnt said Tuesday.

Pictured are TikTok offices.
the Norwegian PM's office has said that ministers should not have TikTok on their phones. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP)

The recommendation, which follows similar moves and bans in a number of Western countries, was based on espionage fears and also applies to the encrypted Russian messaging app Telegram.

“In their risk assessments … the Norwegian intelligence services single out Russia and China as the main risk factors for Norway’s security interests,” Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl said in a statement.

“They also single out social media as a forum favoured by potentially dangerous actors and others who want to influence us with disinformation and fake news,” she said.

The recommendation applies to all work devices used by government officials and which are connected to the government’s digital systems.

The youngest member of the government, 29-year-old Mehl found herself at the centre of a media frenzy last year after she admitted, after a long silence amid suspicions about the app, that she had installed TikTok on her  work phone.

She stressed she had deleted it a month later. She said she had used it because she needed to reach a young audience — the main users of the app.

Government employees can still use TikTok and Telegram if necessary for professional reasons, but on devices that not are not connected to the government’s digital systems, the ministry said.

Governments in Britain, the United States and the European Commission have banned TikTok on work devices. TikTok acknowledged in November that some employees in China could access European user data and admitted in December that employees had used the data to spy on journalists.

The group has however insisted that the Chinese government has no control over or access to its data.

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Norwegian government to test new mobile warning system

Phones across Norway will go off on June 14th as a new emergency alert system will be tested.

Norwegian government to test new mobile warning system

It will be the first time the Civil Defence Authority will test its new alarm system on a large scale.

“The new Emergency Alert on mobile is a huge step for preparedness. Fast and secure communication about danger or crisis gives more security and has been an important priority for the Center Party and the Labour Party in government,” Justice, and Emergency Services Minister Emilie Engher Mehl said in an announcement.

The test will coincide with the sounding of more than 1,200 siren systems dotted around the country.

The Directorate for Community Security and Emergency Preparedness (DSB) has asked the public to talk to their loved ones, including children and the elderly so that as many as possible will be aware that the alert is just a technical test.

Alerts will be sent to mobile phones located in Norway using a 4G or 5G network. Those on older mobiles without 4G or 5G capability will likely not receive the notification. Phones on silent or do not disturb modes will be overridden.

To not receive the notification, the phone will need to be on aeroplane mode. When the alert goes out, a siren-like sound will play, and a message will appear telling users that the notification is just a test.