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Britain bans TikTok on government equipment after US move

TechTechnologyBritain bans TikTok on government equipment after US move
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The UK plans to ban TikTok on government phones following similar moves in the US and the European Union.

Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News | Getty Images

LONDON – The United Kingdom on Thursday announced plans to ban the use of Chinese-owned video app TikTok on government corporate equipment.

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Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden said that, following a review by UK cyber security experts, it was “clear that there could be a risk about how sensitive government data is accessed and used by some platforms.”

Dowden said the apps collect vast amounts of data, including users’ contacts and location. On government equipment, “the data can be sensitive,” he said.

“The security of sensitive government information must come first, so today we are banning this app on government devices. The use of other data extraction apps will be reviewed,” the minister said in a statement. press statement,

The TikTok ban begins with immediate effect, according to Dowden, who said the move was “precautionary”.

He confirmed that the ban would not apply to personal devices of government employees. “This is a proportionate step based on a specific risk with government equipment.”

An exemption is being implemented for the use of TikTok on government equipment, where necessary for work purposes, but “only on a case-by-case basis by security teams, with appropriate ministerial-level clearance, and with safeguards”. will be given.” said the government.

The minister also said that government tools will only be able to access third-party apps that are on the pre-approved list.

A TikTok spokesperson said the company was disappointed with the UK government’s decision.

“We believe these bans are based on fundamental misunderstandings and are driven by wider geopolitics in which TikTok and our millions of users in the UK play no role. We look forward to working with the government to address any concerns. committed to, but justice must be done.” on the facts and are treated equally with our competitors,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

“We have begun implementing a comprehensive plan to further secure our European user data, including storing UK user data in our European data centers and tightening data access controls, which includes the third part of our approach. -Party independent inspection included.”

in lockstep

The UK move follows the same rules as the US and the EU. end of february, the White House gave government agencies 30 days to ensure that TikTok was not installed on federal equipment. The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, Along with this, employees were also banned from installing Tiktok. On corporate and personal devices.

Lawmakers in Washington have repeatedly expressed concern that US user data from TikTok could be sent to China and end up in the hands of the government in Beijing.

TikTok has on several occasions highlighted the work it is doing to protect US user data. The company unveiled “Project Texas” last year to “fully protect user data and US national security interests”.

TikTok said it is working with US firm Oracle to store all US data on the US firm’s cloud by default, to allay Washington’s fears.

The pressure on Tiktok is mounting globally. US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) ByteDance asked to sell its shares in Tiktok, or the app may face a US ban. Any ban would largely drive TikTok away from the US market.

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