TikTok has been banned from UK government-issued mobile devices due to security concerns related to the Chinese-owned social media app, according to reports. The announcement was made by Cabinet Office minister, Oliver Dowden, who said that TikTok “could” pose a risk to how government data is used. The decision was made to prioritise the security of sensitive government information, and the use of other data-extracting apps will be kept under review. The UK now joins the US, Canada and the EU in banning TikTok on official devices.
The Cabinet Office stated that the decision was made because TikTok users are required to provide data including contacts, user content and geolocation data. “Restricting the use of TikTok on government devices is a prudent and proportionate step following advice from our cybersecurity experts”, said Dowden. The ban will take “immediate effect”, he added, but noted that the government was not advising against the use of TikTok in a personal capacity.
TikTok expressed disappointment with the decision and had already begun taking steps to enhance the protection of European user data. However, the company has faced several criticisms regarding user privacy and data security, particularly with regards to its ties with the Chinese government.