UK.gov bans TikTok from its devices as a 'precaution' over spying fears
Gov staff using it on personal mobes just fine... it's not like ministers use WhatsApp etc for business ... oh wait
The United Kingdom government has banned use of Chinese social media platform TikTok among ministers and officials on their work devices as a “precautionary” measure over worries the app is used to snoop on Brits.
Speaking to Parliament this afternoon, Oliver Dowden, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Secretary of State who oversees Cabinet Office policy, said the ban would have immediate effect and applied to devices issued within ministerial and non-ministerial departments, but not to “personal devices for government employees or ministers or the general public.”
Dowden declined the opportunity to say on what advice it acted to exclude the Chinese video-sharing software from government devices.
“This is a precautionary move. We know that there is already limited use of TikTok across government, but it is also good cyber hygiene. Given the particular risk around government devices, which may contain sensitive information, it is both prudent and proportionate to restrict the use of certain apps, particularly when it comes to apps where a large amount of data is stored and accessed,” Dowden told MPs.
Speaking for the opposition Labour Party, shadow cabinet minister Angela Rayner pointed out that on 28 of February, the secretary of state for science, innovation and technology Michelle Donelan had previously said government use of the app was a matter of personal choice.
“She said that we have no evidence [of a threat] and a ban would be very forthright. What's changed? Two weeks, two ministers, and two completely different policies later, it's the same pattern over and over again. A government… forced into a U-turn at the last minute,” she said.
She said the government’s track record for upholding security was “appalling” owing to its use of private email and WhatsApp messaging.
The UK government’s decision follows the US administration’s threat to ban TikTok if its Chinese parent company ByteDance did not give up its ownership to help ease national security concerns.
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The Financial Times reported that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which evaluates foreign investment in the US, made the request to divest US TikTok in its review into the company.
TikTok has denied claims that data it collects on American users could be passed to the Chinese government and Communist party.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, chief executive Shou Zi Chew said the company would hire American partner Oracle to store American users’ data to protect against the possibility of Chinese influence on videos US users see.
The White House at the start of this month set a 30-day deadline for all federal staffers to expunge TikTok from their work devices, following Congress voting in December to ban the app on work devices. Canada, the European Commission and Taiwan have also asked epmloyees to delete the app on government issued devices. ®