The UK plans to ban TikTok on government phones after similar moves in the US and European Union.
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LONDON — The United Kingdom on Thursday announced plans to ban the use of Chinese video app TikTok on state-owned corporate devices.
Cabinet Secretary Oliver Dowden said that following a review by the UK’s cybersecurity experts, “it is clear that there could be a risk in how sensitive government data is accessed and used by certain platforms”.
Dowden added that apps collect massive amounts of data about users, including contacts and location. On government devices, this “data can be sensitive,” he said.
“The security of sensitive government information must come first, so today we are banning this app on government devices. The use of other data extracting apps will be reviewed,” the minister said in a press release.
The TikTok ban begins effective immediately, according to Dowden, who noted the move was “precautionary.”
He confirmed that the ban would not extend to government employees’ personal devices. “This is a proportionate move based on a certain level of risk with government equipment.”
Exceptions for using TikTok on government devices are implemented when necessary for work purposes, but “are only granted by security teams on a case-by-case basis, with ministerial approval where appropriate and with security mitigations in place. ‘ said the government.
The minister also said government devices can only access third-party apps that are on a pre-approved list.
Britain’s move follows similar rules in the US and European Union. In late February, the White House gave government agencies 30 days to ensure TikTok would not be installed on federal devices. The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, has also banned employees from installing TikTok on company and personal devices.
Lawmakers in Washington have repeatedly raised concerns that American user data from TikTok could be sent to China and end up in the hands of the Beijing government.
TikTok has highlighted the work they are doing to protect US user data on multiple occasions. The company unveiled “Project Texas” last year to “fully protect user data and US national security interests.”
TikTok said it is working with US firm Oracle to store all US data on the American firm’s cloud by default to allay Washington’s fears.
The pressure on TikTok is increasing worldwide. The US Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS) has urged ByteDance to sell its stake in TikTok or the app could face a US ban. Any ban would choke TikTok off the vast American market.
Source : www.cnbc.com