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Great Britain. TikTok banned on government devices, Chinese embassy in London comments

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The UK government said on Thursday it was banning the TikTok app on government devices with immediate effect. “Security of sensitive government information must come first,” said Cabinet Secretary Oliver Dowden. TikTok authorities are disappointed with the decision of the British government.

“The security of sensitive government information must come first, which is why we are banning this app from government devices today,” Cabinet Secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement. He announced that the use of other data acquisition applications will be analyzed on an ongoing basis.

The British government reminded in a communication that similar decisions regarding TikTok were made earlier, among others by In USA and Canada. She also decided to take this step European Commission. On the other hand The Czech Cybersecurity Authority (NUKIB) has published a warning against a Chinese application.

“Restricting the use of TikTok on government devices is a prudent and proportionate step following the advice of our cybersecurity experts,” Dowden said.

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The British government has said that – along with international partners – it is concerned about the way the data obtained by TikTok may be used.

TikTok responds

TikTok said it was disappointed with the British government’s decision. Platform representatives pointed out that TikTik has already started taking steps to strengthen data protection for European users. “We believe the bans were based on fundamentally flawed assumptions and are driven by wider geopolitics that TikTok, and our millions of UK users, do not participate in,” a TikTok spokesman said.

TikTok belongs to the Chinese company ByteDance.

The embassy also spoke on this matter China in London. It was assessed that the decision was based on political considerations and not facts. The move “disrupts the normal business of relevant UK companies and will ultimately only harm UK interests,” the Chinese embassy in London said in a statement.

TikTok available on private devices

The ban on TikTok does not extend to the private devices of government employees and ministers, or the general public.

British Energy Minister Grant Shapps commented that banning the use of the Chinese app on government devices was reasonable, but at the same time announced that he would stay on the platform on his private phone.

Reuters pointed out that British ministries and ministers themselves are increasingly using TikTok and other platforms to communicate with voters.

Tik Tok ‘does not work for the Chinese government’

In a position sent to TVN24 Biznes – referring to the decision of the European Commission – TikTok emphasized that it was “constantly improving” its approach to data security, “including by setting up three data centers in Europe that will store user data locally”. “We rigorously minimize the flow of any data outside Europe and restrict employees’ access to data to the absolute minimum necessary,” stressed representatives of the Chinese application.

TikTok assured that it “does not work for the benefit of the Chinese government”. “It’s important to distinguish political issues about TikTok from those related to how the app works. While some issues (e.g. Chinese pedigree) have been politicized, we take all security issues very seriously. Policymakers and regulators in Europe are rightly focused on understanding whether TikTok poses any actual threat to security and to our collaboration to develop industry-leading policy solutions to address any user data issues.”

The statement also noted that “ByteDance is not owned by China – 60 percent of the shares are held by global investment funds such as Sequoia Capital or SoftBank, 21 percent by the company’s founder Jiming Zhang.” “In addition, less than 20 percent belongs to smaller investors and employees in stock options. The company and its founders are permanently in Singapore” – indicated.

TikTok representatives stressed that “TikTok is neither operating nor headquartered in China, nor is it dependent in any way on the Chinese authorities, nor does it share any data with Chinese authorities.”

Main photo source: EPA/ANDY RAIN

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