The UK Bans TikTok on Official Devices Amid Cybersecurity Concerns
The UK government has banned TikTok on official devices following a review by the National Cyber Security Centre. The ban, announced on Thursday, will allow ministers and officials to use the Chinese-owned app on their personal phones. This move comes amid increasing concerns about the privacy and security of the app as critics argue that it could be passing personal information to the Chinese government through its owner Bytedance.
Chinese Embassy Responds
The Chinese embassy spokesperson accused the UK government of acting “based on its political motive rather than facts.” TikTok has previously denied sharing data with the Chinese government and denied accusations of collecting more user data than other social media companies. It insists that it is run independently by its own management. The ban, TikTok said, was based on “fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics,” and was “disappointed” with the decision.
Other Countries with TikTok Bans
Despite TikTok’s claims, many countries remain cautious about the platform and its ties to China. Here are some countries and regions that implemented partial or total bans on TikTok:
- New Zealand: banned the app on all devices with access to the country’s parliament
- India: imposed a ban on TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps
- Taiwan: imposed a public sector ban on TikTok after the FBI warned that TikTok posed a national security risk
- United States: banned TikTok on government devices, while some US lawmakers advocate for an outright ban
- Canada: banned government-issued devices from using the app and blocked employees from downloading it
- European Union: imposed bans on TikTok on staff devices in three top EU bodies
- Pakistan: temporarily banned the app multiple times due to concerns about immoral content
- Afghanistan: banned TikTok and the Chinese game PUBG to protect youth from being misled according to the Taliban leadership
The UK’s Concerns
The UK government’s ban on TikTok on official devices is due to concerns that sensitive data held on government phones could be accessed by the Chinese government. TikTok users are required to hand over data that includes contacts, user content, and geolocation data. The UK’s decision comes after the app was banned on many government devices in the US and elsewhere.
Although TikTok has repeatedly denied any involvement in Chinese government data gathering, many governments worldwide remain concerned over the app’s ties to China. It remains to be seen whether further bans will be placed on the app in the future.