The United Kingdom government is set to announce a ban on the Chinese-owned short-video app TikTok on government phones on Thursday, reported Reuters citing PA Media. The report said that the country’s National Cyber Security Centre has been reviewing whether TikTok should be barred from government phones. It comes under the backdrop of TikTok coming under global scrutiny over the safety of personal user data. Other countries such as the United States, Canada, Belgium, and the European Commission have already banned the app on government-issued devices.
A report by the Guardian had said that an announcement was expected from the UK Cabinet Office potentially as soon as Thursday.
Additionally, the US has threatened to impose a ban on TikTok unless its Chinese owners, ByteDance, divest their stakes in it. The move, driven by fears that user data of the US held by the company could be passed on to the Chinese government, comes amid a global backlash against the social media platform over the concerns of potential Chinese spying.
ALSO READ: TikTok Denies Reports On US Call For Chinese Owners To Sell Stakes
Although the US has already banned TikTok on government devices, this is for the first time under the Biden administration that the ban on the app has come under threat. A TikTok spokesperson, however, responded by saying that such action would not be beneficial to national security. TikTok spokesperson Maureen Shanahan stated that “divestment doesn’t solve the problem: a change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access.”
Last month, the European Commission (EU) banned TikTok on official devices used by staff amid concerns over data protection. The ban means that EU Commission staff cannot use the app on personal devices, including phones, that have official apps installed.
Also Read: TikTok Denies Reports On US Call For Chinese Owners To Sell Stakes
Canada has also banned the popular short-form video platform owned by China-based ByteDance. The use of TikTok has been strictly prohibited on government-issued devices due to concerns over security and privacy risks, owing to its China connection.
Back in 2020, TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps were banned completely in India (private and government usage), as they were deemed “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”
This move was in response to a military clash between India and China in the disputed territory along the Ladakh-China border. Other popular Chinese apps such as Weibo and UC Browser were also banned in the process.