Chinese  Social Media Tiktok On Phones And Devices Issued To Government Ministers

Chinese Social Media Tiktok On Phones And Devices Issued To Government Ministers

By James Simons-

The use of Chinese-owned social media app TikTok on phones and other devices issued to government corporate devices has been banned.

Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden told MPs the app would be banned on security grounds with immediate effect.

Cabinet office minister Oliver Dowden said that, following a review by Britain’s cybersecurity experts, it is “clear that there could be a risk around how sensitive government data is accessed and used by certain platforms.”

He described it as “precautionary” but “prudent” move, following a review by the National Cyber Security Centre.

TikTok has strongly denied allegations that it hands users’ data to the Chinese government.

Mr Dowden said: “The security of sensitive government information must come first”.

But he told MPs the ban would not extend to ministers’ or civil servants’ personal phones, or the general public – because this was a “proportionate” response to a “specific risk with government devices”.
“However, as is always the case, we do advise individuals to practise caution online and to consider each social media platform’s data policies before downloading and using them.”

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner welcomed the ban, but accused the government of being “behind the curve” and “closing the stable door after the horse has bolted”.

Both Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have TikTok accounts – and the MoD uploaded a video of a Challenger 2 tank, a type being supplied to Ukraine, to its account on Thursday morning spokesperson added.

A TikTok spokesperson said that the company was disappointed with the U.K. government’s decision.

“We believe these bans have been based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics, in which TikTok, and our millions of users in the UK, play no part. We remain committed to working with the government to address any concerns but should be judged on facts and treated equally to our competitors,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

“We have begun implementing a comprehensive plan to further protect our European user data, which includes storing UK user data in our European data centres and tightening data access controls, including third-party independent oversight of our approach.”

UK government ministers have come under pressure from senior MPs to follow the United States and the European Commission in banning the app.

The US banned TikTok from official devices in December, and the Commission followed suit last month. Canada, Belgium and India have taken similar action.

China has accused the US of spreading disinformation and suppressing TikTok amid reports the White House wants its Chinese owners to sell their stakes in the firm.

Earlier this week, the prime minister said the UK would “look at what our allies are doing”.

TikTok said bans had been based on “misplaced fears and seemingly driven by wider geopolitics”, adding it would be “disappointed by such a move” in the UK.

It has said it does not share data with Chinese officials, but Chinese intelligence laws requires firms to help the Communist Party when requested.

Critics fear the policy could expose data on devices used by political leaders and officials to Beijing.

The UK Parliament closed its TikTok account last August. The Downing Street TikTok page has not been updated since Boris Johnson left office in September last year, but others including the MoD and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps, have updated their pages more recently.

Spread the news