UK bans TikTok from government devices as West turns against the app
The UK government has banned TikTok from official devices, citing security and privacy concerns.
Officials are concerned about how the sensitive data collected by the app could be used against citizens and the country.
“We are moving to a system where government devices can only access third-party apps that are on a pre-approved list,” UK Secretary of State Oliver Dowden told the House of Commons.
“We will also ban the use of TikTok on government devices. We will do so with immediate effect.”
The UK ban follows similar moves in Europe and the US, where the app is also banned from government devices.
Mr Dowden and the Government gave no specific indication of what safety concerns led to the decision. It follows a review by the National Cyber Security Centre.
However, he cited the large amount of data the app collects and fears it could be accessed. Critics have argued that because TikTok is owned by Beijing-based Bytedance, data could be viewed by the Chinese government.
“As many colleagues know, 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 are transitioning 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 this from now on. This is a precautionary measure. We know TikTok already has limited usage 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.”
The ban does not include personal devices, he said. And there will be exceptions where the app is required on official devices for operational reasons.
Some government ministers, including Grant Shapps and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan, operate their own TikTok accounts.
https://www.independent.co.uk/tech/tiktok-ban-uk-government-phones-devices-b2302180.html UK bans TikTok from government devices as West turns against the app