Officials in the Netherlands have been told to delete all Iranian, Russian and Chinese apps from their work phones.

Dutch officials have been told by their government that they must delete all mobile phone apps owned by the likes of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea from their work phones.

The nation had already told its officials to keep the Chinese Communist Party-linked app TikTok off of their work devices, with the country citing serious security concerns for the guidance.

According to a report by De Telegraaf, such an order has now been seriously expanded, with the Dutch cabinet telling officials on Tuesday that they need to delete all apps from countries which have an “offensive cyber program against the Netherlands” in place.

The cabinet reportedly justified the decision by saying that apps from such hostile states pose “an increased risk of espionage”.

“Examples of countries with such an offensive cyber program are Russia, China, Iran and North Korea,” Minister of Digitization Alexandra van Huffelen allegedly wrote in a letter to civil servants, arguing that these countries have “the intent and capacity” to spy on the Netherlands.

Cabinet officials reportedly aim to eventually expand such a cyber-security policy even further by banning all apps from government phones not explicitly given the green light by the government’s IT section.

Speaking in response to the decision to ban apps from various hostile foreign countries, TikTok claimed that it was not “Chinese-owned” nor “controlled by any state or government”.

Such a claim does not appear to be believed by many Western government officials, with a slew of nations across Europe and America making the decision to ban the social media platform’s app from government devices.

One of the most recent nations to impose such a restriction is the UK, with Westminster citing the platform as posing a “specific risk” to the country.

The European Union has also ordered staff to delete the app not only from government devices, but also from personal devices that have work-related material on them in order to lower the risk of digital espionage.

Meanwhile, the United States has launched an investigation into TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, over claims a number of now former employees used data gathered by the platform to track the location of two journalists in the United States.

A spokesman for the company has since claimed that it “strongly condemned” the actions of the former employees, before insisting that it would be willing to assist any official government investigations into the incident.

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