Reportase.one – The United States, United Kingdom and New Zealand have joined a growing list of Western countries to ban the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform TikTok. It is known that the banning of TikTok from government devices is related to security issues and trust issue other.
The UK announced an outright ban on TikTok on Thursday last week, citing the Chinese company’s ownership of the app as a security risk. Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Dowden called the ban a “precautionary” measure following similar steps taken by the US, Canada, India and the European Union’s executive body.
The New York Times reported that the social media app collects and stores large amounts of user data, including contacts, user content, and geolocation data, which is sensitive and vulnerable to compromise. Post-Covid, TikTok has aroused more suspicion than most other apps because its owner, ByteDance, is a Chinese company.
Britain’s concerns mirror what other Western governments have revealed that TikTok could share sensitive data from devices used by politicians and senior officials with the Beijing government. On Monday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described China as an “epoch-defining challenge” to the international order.
The ban only applies to government officials’ official office phones, and Dowden emphasized that it was a proportionate approach to protect the sensitivity of government data. TikTok later expressed disappointment at the UK government’s decision, describing the ban as based on a fundamental misunderstanding and driven by broader geopolitics.
The company added that it was taking steps to protect UK users’ data. Despite the ban, several UK government departments have TikTok accounts as part of their public outreach, including the ministry of defence.
The app was recently described as safe for use by Brits by Michelle Donelan, secretary of state for science, innovation and technology. Previously, the US threatened to ban TikTok from the country unless the app’s Chinese owners agreed to give up their share of the social media platform.
TikTok’s chief executive, Shou Zi Chew, responded by stating that divesting the company from its Chinese owners offers no more protection than the multibillion-dollar plan the company has proposed, according to the Wall Street Journal.