The United Kingdom of Great Britain has said that it will ban TikTok, a Chinese owned video app from being used on government phones, a move to join other western countries that have banned the due to fears that user data from the app owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance could end up in the hands of the Chinese government, undermining Western security interests.
The National Cyber Security Centre in the United Kingdom is considering whether TikTok should be blocked on government phones, while the app has already been banned in the United States, Canada, Belgium, and the European Commission.The British government has asked the National Cyber Security Centre to look at the potential vulnerability of government data from social media apps and risks around how sensitive information could be accessed and used.
Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden told parliament that government devices would only be able to access third-party apps from a pre-approved list and states that they are going to ban the use of TikTok on government devices with immediate effect. He says the security of sensitive government information must come first, therefore they are banning the app on government devices while the use of other data-extracting apps will be kept under review.
Dowden further explains that restricting the use of TikTok on government devices is a prudent and proportionate step following advice from their cyber security experts and that the TikTok ban does not include the personal devices of government employees or ministers and there would be limited exemptions where TikTok was required on government devices for work purposes.