Government announces TikTok ban
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TikTok has been banned from UK Government phones and devices due to security concerns around the Chinese-owned social media app. Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden made the announcement last Thursday as a “precautionary” move, and a new Express.co.uk poll has shown an astounding 98 percent are in favour of the decision.
Mr Dowden said in a statement to Parliament that there “could” be a risk to how Government data and information is used by the app. The ban took “immediate effect” and brings the UK in line with other western nations. The US banned TikTok from official devices in December, while the European Commission, Canada, Belgium, India and New Zealand have all taken similar measures.
The video-sharing app has faced scrutiny over its security and data privacy, with allegations it could be used to promote pro-Beijing views or gather user data. TikTok has denied claims it hands user data to the Chinese Government.
The app owned by Chinese internet company ByteDance, said they are “disappointed with this decision”. A spokesperson said: “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.
“We remain committed to working with the Government to address any concerns but should be judged on facts and treated equally to our competitors. We have begun implementing a comprehensive plan to further protect our European user data, which includes storing UK user data in our European data centres and tightening data access controls, including third-party independent oversight of our approach.”
In a poll that ran from 8.30am on Friday, March 17, to midday on Monday, March 20, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Do you agree with TikTok being banned on Government devices?”
Overall, 2,013 people cast their votes with the overwhelming majority, 98 percent (1,978 people) answering “yes” in support of the ban.
Whereas 1.5 percent (29 people) said “no” it should not be banned, and just six people said they did not know either way.
Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers debated the social media app ban.
The dominant argument was in favour of TikTok being banned on Government devices with username NineFingers writing: “What possible use is there for TikTok on any work-related mobile phone, never mind Government phones!”
Username Simple guy said: “Yes and it must be compulsory for any MP or Government employee, no exceptions!”
Another, username StopIt wrote: “It’s not what you would call a communication platform. It has little role in Government, so zero advantages but many potential disadvantages. Ban it!”
And username justmy2cents added: “Absolutely — yes! It is a work device, not for private entertainment. There is a very real security risk we need to be aware of, so it is only fair that this has a lockdown.”
Other readers thought that all social media should be banned from work devices. Username ericcoates said: “Government supplied devices are for work, not entertainment.”
And username George 19, added: “All social media platforms on MP’s phones should be banned.”
Similarly, username leafspot said: “Unless social media is part of your job then it should all be banned on work phones, especially Governmental ones.”
And username goodnessme wrote: “I am gobsmacked that any social media is allowed on Government employees work mobile phones or any other equipment. If MP’s, Ministers and anyone else employed in anything to do with Government business want to use social media they should use their own personal phones.”
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Mr Dowden said the Government was not advising people against using TikTok in a personal capacity.
He said: “This ban applies to Government corporate devices within ministerial and non-ministerial departments, but it will not extend to personal devices for government employees or ministers or the general public.
“That is because, as I have outlined, this is a proportionate move based on a specific risk with government devices.”
Former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced that she would be deleting the app from her personal phone, explaining: “I think all MPs should do likewise.”
However, some readers commented in support of TikTok being banned in the UK. Username billy5hats said: “TikTok should be banned totally.”
Username durfel remarked: “It should be banned fullstop!”
Likewise, username snowleopard said: “TikTok should be banned from the UK.”
And username Tempest wrote: “Yes, yes, yes, also a total ban on all UK networks.”
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