UK Finally Bans TikTok on Government Devices


Bringing the UK into line with the United States and the European Commission and demonstrating the deteriorating relationship between Beijing and Washington, UK will prohibit the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok from ministers’ and civil servants’ mobile phones.

A few hours after TikTok stated that its owner, ByteDance, had been told by Washington to sell the app or face a possible ban in the country, the decision marks a sharp U-turn from the UK’s previous position. The Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden made the announcement on Thursday in the House of Commons. He stated that the ban had immediate effect.

According to Oliver Dowden, the decision is the result of a review of TikTok that began in November and was conducted by government cybersecurity experts. The review will only cover the personal phones of ministers and civil servants, not their work phones. Based on a specific risk associated with government devices, this is a proportionate move.

According to the UK Cabinet Office, TikTok requires permission from users to access data on their devices, which the company then collects and stores. The company gains access to a variety of data by granting such permissions, such as user content, geolocation data, and contacts. According to Dowden, this justifies the ban.

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TikTok is used by at least two cabinet ministers. Michelle Donelan, the science and innovation secretary, and Award Shapps, the energy security and net zero secretary, have a record on the application, which is utilized by a huge number of youngsters and numerous superstars and forces to be reckoned with.

The decision shows how quickly western trust in China and TikTok has deteriorated in recent months and brings the UK into line with the US government and the European Commission, both of which have announced similar bans on TikTok in the past month.

However, it represents a significant shift from the UK’s previous relaxed position. Donelan said that, just over two weeks ago that the United Kingdom would not follow other governments and that the decision to install the app should be made by a single politician or minister.

A representative for TikTok stated, the company is disappointed, and they believe that these restrictions were brought about by broader geopolitics, in which TikTok and their millions of UK users have nothing to say. They will continue to collaborate with the government to address any issues.


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