The UK has become the latest major jurisdiction to ban government devices. The measure is in place with immediate effect following a security review ordered by the ministers. The move is part of broader restrictions on third-party apps on government devices.
“The security of sensitive government information must come first, which is why today we are banning this app on government devices,” said Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden, the government’s second-highest-ranking minister. “The use of other data extraction applications will remain under review.”
Dowden that it is a precautionary measure. “We know there is already limited use of TikTok across the government, but it’s also good cyber hygiene,” he said.
The ban is intended to protect sensitive data on government devices and prevent things like location data collection. The measure does not apply to personal devices belonging to government employees, ministers or the public. Also, the UK government will only allow its staff to use a third-party app on an official device if it’s on an approved list.
There will be exceptions to the TikTok ban in cases where the app is needed for employment purposes, such as law enforcement or those working on online harm related projects. These exceptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis and security measures must be implemented.
The government noted that people should be aware of each app. He said TikTok requires users to give permission for the app to access certain information stored on a phone or tablet, such as geolocation data and contacts. Officials say they are concerned about how this data may be used.
Leaders of many countries and other territories have raised concerns that China could access the data of their residents or officials through TikTok. ByteDance, which owns TikTok, is based in Beijing. Many legislatures have banned TikTok on government-owned devices in recent months, including dozens of states and .
On Wednesday, it was widely reported (and confirmed by TikTok) that the US government has or is facing an outright ban in the country. There are several laws in the works that seek or have the power to ban TikTok. The reported development comes nearly three years after former President Donald Trump tried to force ByteDance to sell TikTok and a week before TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew did so.
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