UK Bans TikTok On Government Phones Over Security Concerns: NPR Story-level
LONDON — British authorities said Thursday they will ban the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok from government mobile phones for security reasons, following similar moves by the United States and the European Union.
Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden told Parliament the ban applies with immediate effect to work phones and other devices used by government ministers and civil servants. He described the ban as a “preciation move” and said it does not apply to phones and personal devices.
“Given the particular risk from government devices, which may contain sensitive information, it is prudent and proportionate to restrict the use of certain applications, particularly when it comes to applications where large amounts of data can be stored and accessed,” it said. Dowden. British lawmakers.
The US government ordered last month that employees of federal agencies must remove TikTok from all government-issued mobile devices. Congress, the White House, the US military, and more than half of US states had already banned the app.
The European Union, Belgium and others have also temporarily banned the app on employee phones.
The moves were prompted by growing concerns that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance would provide user data such as browsing history and location to the Chinese government, or push propaganda and misinformation on its behalf.
The company has insisted that such concerns are based on “misinformation” and said it was taking steps to push for data protection for UK and European users.
“We believe these bans have been based on fundamental misconceptions and are driven by broader geopolitics, in which TikTok and our millions of UK users play no role,” the company said. “We remain committed to working with the government to address any concerns, but we must be judged by the facts and treated the same as our competitors.”
China accused the United States on Thursday of spreading disinformation and suppressing TikTok following reports that the Biden administration was asking the short-form video service’s Chinese owners to sell their stakes in the popular app.
Last year, the British Parliament shut down his TikTok account, which was meant to reach younger audiences, just days after its launch after lawmakers raised concerns.