The United Kingdom banned TikTok from official government devices on Thursday, adding similar restrictions imposed by allies in Canada, the European Union and the United States.
The social media app is not widely used by UK officials, according to a government Noticebut the move reflects concerns about TikTok’s ties to China through its parent company ByteDance and the possibility that the Chinese government could pressure companies to give out users’ personal information.
“This is a proportionate move based on a specific risk with government equipment,” UK Cabinet Secretary Oliver Dowden told lawmakers on Thursday.
In a statement on Thursday, TikTok expressed its disappointment with the decision.
“We believe these bans are based on fundamental misunderstandings and are driven by a broader geopolitics, in which TikTok and our millions of users in the UK play no part,” a spokesman said. “We remain committed to working with the government to address concerns but should be judged on facts and put on an equal footing with our competitors.”
The company has said it is voluntarily working to address the security concerns by taking technical and bureaucratic measures to shield US and EU user data from its global operations. It has also said it has not received a request for user information from the Chinese government and would resist such calls.
In Thursday’s statement, TikTok said: “We have begun implementing a comprehensive plan to further protect our European user data, which includes storing UK user data in our European data centers and tightening data access controls, including independent third-party oversight of our approach.” ”
The UK announcement comes a day after TikTok said the US government had urged the company’s Chinese owners to sell their stakes or risk a ban.
In December, President Joe Biden signed legislation banning TikTok on federal government devices, joining a list of more than half of U.S. states.
US lawmakers have proposed expanding the Biden administration’s powers to enact a nationwide ban on TikTok. A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation this month that would give the Commerce Department broad latitude to review and ban technology linked to foreign adversaries, a proposal the White House was quick to embrace.
Source : www.cnn.com