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UK bans TikTok from ALL government devices over security concerns

UK bans TikTok from ALL government devices over security concerns
March 16
19:41 2023

The government of the United Kingdom has banned TikTok, a video-sharing social media application, from all government-owned phones with immediate effect, over security threats.

The ban was introduced on Thursday, after cabinet office ministers ordered a security review.

According to the cabinet office, the review looked at the potential vulnerability of government data from social media apps on devices and risks around how sensitive information could be accessed and used by some platforms.

Oliver Dowden, the secretary of state in the cabinet office, told the house of commons that the ban was a “precautionary move.”


Dowden said the decision is in line with similar restrictions brought in by key international partners, including the US and Canadian governments, and the European Commission.

He said the ban does not include personal devices and there would be limited exemptions where TikTok is required on government devices for operational reasons.

“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 kept under review,” Dowden said.


“Restricting the use of TikTok on government devices is a prudent and proportionate step following advice from our cyber security experts.”

Dowden, also the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said the ban applies to government corporate devices within all government departments.

He added that government devices would only be able to access third-party apps from a pre-approved list.



The latest ban comes weeks after the European Union took a similar step against TikTok — an app owned by ByteDance Ltd, a Chinese-based firm.

TikTok use may also be prohibited from government devices in United States.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the US government has asked the company to sell its stakes or face a possible ban.

The US authorities say the video-sharing app poses a national security risk through data gathered from millions of users.


It was also said that the US house of representatives has been under fire from some Republicans who accused it of not taking a ‘tough-enough’ stance to address the perceived security threat from TikTok.

Recently, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), a multiagency federal task force that oversees national security risks in cross-border investments, asked the company to sell off its stake.


But TikTok has argued that 60 percent of ByteDance shares are owned by global investors, 20 percent by employees, and 20 percent by its founders.

The social media platform explained that the founders’ shares carry outsize voting rights, as is common with tech companies.


In a statement, Brooke Oberwetter, TikTok’s spokesperson, said a forced sale would not address the perceived security risk.

Oberwetter also said the company has pledged to spend $1.5 billion on a program to safeguard the US user data and content from Chinese government access or influence.


“If protecting national security is the objective, divestment doesn’t solve the problem: a change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access,” Oberwetter said.

“The best way to address concerns about national security is with the transparent, US-based protection of US user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, vetting, and verification, which we are already implementing.”

Last year, The US house of representatives ordered its staff to delete TikTok from any house-issued mobile devices.

According to the house, the office’s cybersecurity unit had found TikTok to be a “high risk to users due to a number of security risks”.

Aside from the US, some other countries have banned TikTok and blocked future downloads for “threat to security”.


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