UK government ‘will ban employees from using TikTok on work phones’

TikTok to be banned on government devices, sources say (Image: REX)

TikTok to be banned on government devices, sources say (Image: REX)

It has been reported that Rishi Sunak will ban his employees from using TikTok on their work phones later in the day.

Cabinet Secretary Oliver Dowden is due to make a statement on “safety of government equipment” before Parliament this afternoon.

The video sharing app has come under increasing scrutiny for its security and privacy.

A number of concerns have been raised that the Chinese app could be used to promote pro-Beijing views or collect data.

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Security Secretary Tom Tugendhat confirmed earlier this week that he has commissioned the National Cyber ​​Security Center to investigate the app and determine whether it should be removed from government devices.

Confirming his request, he said it was “absolutely important” to keep the country’s “diplomatic processes free and secure.”

In another Times Radio interview, the politician said: “I don’t have it and the Prime Minister asked me a while ago to defend the top democracy task force.

“We look at the various threats against parliamentarians, but also against journalists.

“Looking at the different apps that people have on their phones and how this is affecting them is an extremely important question and I’ve asked the National Cyber ​​Security Center to look into it.

‘Until they come back with an answer, I won’t give you one.’

The app, owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, has already been banned from government networks in the US, Canada and the European Union over concerns it could be used to promote pro-Beijing views or collect user data.

In December, the Chief Administrative Officer of the US House of Representatives said the app was “high risk due to a number of security issues.”

Rishi Sunak has previously hinted that the UK could follow the US and EU in vetoing TikTok from government phones and devices too.

The Prime Minister said the Government will “see what our allies are doing”.

But speculation about a full ban – as ordered by the Indian government in 2020 – has been piling up for some time.

Mr Tugendhat, seen as a hawk on China within the Tory party, noted their move to 58 Chinese-owned apps.

Pressed for the full ban, he declined to comment, saying: “It will be tackled with the challenges we face, with the threats we face.

“I won’t give you an answer until I know the risks.”

TikTok has long argued that it doesn’t share data with China, but Chinese intelligence legislation requires firms to support the Communist Party when requested.

The European Commission and more than half of the US states and Congress have already issued a ban over concerns about possible cyber attacks.

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Justin Scaccy

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