Ropes & Gray bans TikTok on work devices following privacy concerns

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By Adam Mawardi on

Applies to lawyers and staff across firm’s global offices

Ropes & Gray has banned the use of TikTok on devices which receive work emails following privacy concerns raised by clients.

The firm-wide measure follows media reports that the popular short-video social media app, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, is able to access sensitive personal data stored on a device. Last month, TikTok was reportedly caught accessing users’ cut-and-paste data stored on their clipboard on Apple devices.

The blanket ban designed to better protect client confidentiality will apply to lawyers and staff across its global network, including its London office.

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Ropes’ reaction comes as TikTok, which has been downloaded more than two billion times globally, faces growing scrutiny after the Trump administration announced that it was considering banning the app across the US.

US bank Wells Fargo reportedly banned TikTok from all company devices last week, while Amazon recently backtracked on their demand for workers to delete the app over security concerns.

Cyber-security has become an immediate challenge for law firms as employees continue to work from home in the wake of COVID-19. As reported by Legal Cheek, research has shown that almost two thirds (63%) of home-working legal staff are storing files on their own devices, raising concerns about data security. Three percent even admitted that the computer they used for remote-work is not password protected.

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