The popular social media app TikTok has been banned from mobile phones and other devices issued to UK government ministers and civil servants due to security concerns after a review by the National Cyber Security Centre.
As of Thursday, government officials are no longer able to download the app onto work devices. “We will do so with immediate effect. This is a precautionary move. We know there is already limited use of TikTok across government, but it is also good cyber hygiene,” announced Oliver Dowden in the UK Parliament.
The UK government’s decision follows similar bans by the US, Canada, and the European Union. The concern surrounding TikTok is due to a 2017 law that obliges organizations in China to assist the government in intelligence and national security if requested. TikTok denies sharing user data with the Chinese government, as the law does not apply to them as its parent company ByteDance is incorporated overseas. However, the fear is that the process of data access by Chinese authorities is far less transparent and could constitute data espionage.
“We are disappointed with the UK decision to stop government staff from using TikTok on their work phones,” Theo Bertram, a TikTok representative stated on Twitter.”It appears to us to be driven by wider geopolitics, in which TikTok and our users play no part.”
The UK government is not advising the general public to stop using TikTok, only government officials who might have more sensitive information on their phone. The the growing controversy over TikTok is a sign of deepening tensions between the West and China.
Meanwhile, the US is considering further restrictions, with officials from the Committee on Foreign Investment telling TikTok’s Chinese owners to either sell their shares or face a total ban. The fear in the US is not just about data collection but also the potential for the Chinese Communist Party to shape the content users see.
Sunak Dismisses His Parliamentary Private Secretary As Tory Calls For Gaza Ceasefire Clash With Party Line
LONDON—In a swift move, PM Rishi Sunak has removed a senior Conservative Party member from his government position as a ministerial aide. Paul Bristow, who served as a parliamentary private secretary (PPS) at the science department, faced this action after publicly advocating for a “permanent” ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. Bristow had conveyed his…
LONDON—Around 100 participants are coming together to discuss unpredictable advances of AI and the potential for humans to lose control of it, at the first global AI summit held at Bletchley Park on November 1 and 2. Elon Musk and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are scheduled to participate in a live interview together on…
In a response to the ongoing hostilities in the Middle East, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged support to Israel, vowing to provide diplomatic, intelligence, or security assistance if requested. Number 10 Downing Street affirmed that the United Kingdom stands “ready” to offer military aid to Israel should such assistance be deemed necessary. Furthermore, the…