LONDON: Plans for the UK government to ban TikTok from official devices are set to be revealed imminently, The Times reported on Sunday.
Following a report by experts at GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre who assessed the app and identified risks to sensitive information, the government is expected to announce the decision in the coming days.
The government is the latest to ban the app and follows the decision of many other Western countries who have grown increasingly worried about TikTok’s handling of users’ data.
In February, different governing bodies of the EU including the European Parliament, European Commission and the European Council decided to ban TikTok, which is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, from staff devices citing fears the Chinese government could harvest users’ data or advance its interests.
Earlier in March, the US agreed to approve legislation that would empower President Joe Biden to prohibit TikTok from all devices nationwide after FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the video-sharing app “screams” security concerns.
Beijing has regularly denied having any such intentions and accused the US of “abusing state power” and suppressing Chinese tech companies.
TikTok has strived in recent months to reassure western officials over its relationship with the Chinese government and has put forward a package of measures to ensure its data are handled safely and independently.
Chinese intelligence legislation requires firms, including big data tech companies, to assist the Communist Party and its intelligence services when requested.
In 2020, ByteDance moved its headquarters to Singapore in a bid to ease the pressure, saying the Chinese government cannot leverage this power on foreign companies and it has not any control or access to its platform.
However, the social media app admitted last year that some staff in China were able to gain access to European users’ data.
On Friday, Belgium became the latest country to announce that it would ban TikTok from government devices, a decision TikTok said was based on “fundamentally wrong information.”