UK Bans TikTok on Government Phones Over Security Concerns

TikTok has become a concern for governments around the world, with the UK the latest to take action.

On Thursday, Britain said it would immediately ban TikTok on government phones, which followed other Western countries banning the Chinese-owned short-video app over security issues.

“The security of sensitive government information must come first, so today, we are banning the use of this app on government devices. The use of other data extraction apps will be scrutinised,” Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden said.

TikTok has come under increasing scrutiny over concerns that user data in an app owned by Beijing company Bytedance could end up in the hands of the Chinese government, undermining Western security interests.

The UK government has asked the National Cyber ​​Security Centre to study potential vulnerabilities of government data from social media apps and the risks of how sensitive information is accessed and used.

The United States, Canada, Belgium and the European Commission have banned the app from official devices.

“Based on the advice of our cybersecurity experts, restricting the use of TikTok on government devices is a prudent and proportionate step,” Dowden said.

TikTok said it was disappointed by the decision and began taking steps to protect European user data further.

A TikTok spokesman said: “We believe these bans are based on fundamental misunderstandings and are driven by broader geopolitics in which TikTok and our millions of users in the UK play no role.”

“We remain committed to working with the government to resolve any issues, but should be judged on facts and treated like our competitors.”

Dowden told parliament government devices could now only access third-party apps on a pre-approved list.

He added that the TikTok ban does not cover personal devices of government employees or ministers, and there will be limited exemptions where TikTok use on government devices is required for work purposes.

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