TikTok banned from UK government phones over security concerns


ikTok has been banned from government phones.

Cabinet Secretary Oliver Dowden announced the ban in a statement to Parliament, saying there is a risk of how sensitive data could be used on certain platforms.

He said: “Social media apps collect and store vast amounts of user data, including contacts, user content and geolocation data. On government devices, this data can be sensitive, so today we are strengthening the security of these devices in two ways.

“First, we’re moving to a system where government devices can only access third-party apps that are on a pre-approved list. This system is already in place in many departments, now it will be the norm throughout government.

“Second, we will also ban the use of TikTok on government devices. We will do so with immediate effect. This is a precautionary measure. We know TikTok already has limited use across government, but it’s also good cyber hygiene.

“Given the particular risk associated with government devices that can contain sensitive information, it is both prudent and proportionate to restrict the use of certain apps – particularly those apps that can store and access large amounts of data.”

He said the TikTok ban will not apply to personal devices owned by ministers or government employees.

TikTok is already banned from official EU phones, while the US bans its use on federal government devices.

Responding to reports the UK was considering the move earlier this week, a TikTok spokesman said it was “disappointed”.

Citing similar decisions taken elsewhere, it said the moves were “based on misplaced fears and appear to be driven by broader geopolitics” and would work with governments to address security concerns.

The UK’s National Cyber ​​Security Center had been looking into whether to ban TikTok from government phones.

Speaking about the review earlier this week, Security Secretary Tom Tugendhat stressed that apps must be “useful tools” for people and not “spyware” to target them.

He added: “What’s certainly clear is that TikTok is a news source for a lot of young people now and, just as it’s quite right, we know who owns the news sources in the UK… it’s important we know who the news sources include feeding into our phones.”

TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, which moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020.

The company has attempted to distance itself from its Chinese roots, stating that its parent company is incorporated outside of China and majority-owned by global institutional investors.

However, it has been dogged by fears in the West that the app could be used to amplify pro-China narratives and pose a security problem by leaking data to Beijing.

TikTok firmly denies allegations of having passed user data to the Chinese government.

Earlier this week, the UK described China as an “epochal challenge” to the international order in a review of its foreign and defense policies.

However, some tight-lipped Conservative backbenchers had urged the government to go further, including calling China a “threat” in the review.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/tiktok-government-phones-ban-security-china-b1067716.html TikTok banned from UK government phones over security concerns


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