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UK bans China's TikTok on govt phones over security concerns

People walk past a logo of Bytedance, the China-based company which owns the short video app TikTok, or Douyin, at its office in Beijing

People walk past a logo of Bytedance, the China-based company which owns the short video app TikTok, or Douyin, at its office in Beijing

Britain has banned TikTok on government phones with immediate effect, a move that follows other Western countries in barring the Chinese-owned video app over security concerns.

TikTok has come under increasing scrutiny due to fears that user data from the app owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance could end up in the hands of the Chinese government, undermining Western security interests.

"The security of sensitive government information must come first, so today we are banning this app on government devices. The use of other data-extracting apps will be kept under review," Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden said in a statement.

The British government had asked the National Cyber Security Centre to look at the potential vulnerability of government data from social media apps and risks around how sensitive information could be accessed and used. The United States, Canada, Belgium and the European Commission have already banned the app from official devices.

"Restricting the use of TikTok on government devices is a prudent and proportionate step following advice from our cyber security experts," Dowden said.

TikTok said it was disappointed with the decision and had already begun taking steps to further protect European user data.

"We believe these bans have been based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics, in which TikTok, and our millions of users in the UK, play no part," a TikTok spokesperson said.

China said the decision was based on political considerations rather than facts. The move "interferes with the normal operations of relevant companies in the UK and will ultimately only harm the UK's own interests", its embassy in London said in a statement.

Dowden told parliament government devices would now only be able to access third party apps from a pre-approved list. The TikTok ban does not include personal devices of government employees or ministers and there would be limited exemptions where TikTok was required on government devices for work purposes, he added.

British government departments and ministers have been increasingly using TikTok and other platforms to communicate with voters. Energy Minister Grant Shapps said the ban on government devices was sensible, but he would stay on the platform on his personal phone.

He posted a clip from the movie "Wolf of Wall Street" in which Leonardo DiCaprio's character says "I'm not f****** leaving", and "The show goes on".

Britain's Ministry of Defense posted a video on the platform shortly before the ban was announced showing how the British army was training Ukrainian forces to use the Challenger 2 battle tank.

Comments

0 #1 Akot 2023-03-17 19:17
It took developed countries so long to understand having let China free to do business on their lands was destructive to national/local business, as all China wants is CONTROL!

EU finally stopped China controlling their textile industry!

Putin's war on Ukrain is blessing for China; while Putin wants to militarily control Africa, China wants to own, control business!

Not to forget China already owns/controls
S. Sudan oil & Chinese working there are so so happy while S. Sudanese are domestic workers or migrating to developed world!

Ah USA/UK/EU are still memners of defunct UN in which Putin has VETO power in Security, while China stands by the demon or pretends not to do so by abstaining, while African useless rulers side by them!

Ah! every one forgets migrants die reaching USE/UK/EU & not Russia nor China!...
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0 #2 Akot 2023-03-17 19:29
...USA/UK/EU are helping their own destruction by tolerating migration that will never end as long as GOOD GOVERNANCE isn't conditional for all UN memebr States!

USA/UK/EU, why still be members of defunct UN that is alright with bad rule in shitholes & is helpng destroy your democracies with migration, imposing on you; religion, cultures, languages, polygamy?

French president Macron has made migration to UK business; he gets millions of £, French police, workers are well payed to ensure migration to UK!

No wonder French tax payers are out on streets demanding better pays, retirement age at 62, so they can breath, be with grand children before it's too late!
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0 #3 Akot 2023-03-17 20:06
UK, time to talk loudly of UNITY, so that you begin to work as ONE PEOPLE for common goals, especially self styled lifetime rulers/dictators like Putin, Museveni, Kagame, Jinping, Erdogan...are making their stand, while UK/USA/EU are locked in internal political fights, yet are suffocating with migration!

Time UK, USA, Canada, Australia become a United Nations, before it's too late!

Why has UK offficialised migration by signing a deal & giving millions of £ to Macron so that France becomes official route, to ensure UK is filled with migrants?

Is this governing UK, protecting its territory & people?

UK should be the first to see what Museveni & UN have made Uganda; land for migrants!

England, Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland, please stop internal fight or you will lose control of your zone for good!
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