The UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has come under pressure to ban TikTok from government-owned devices. This would be in line with moves recently made by the EU and the US over security-related issues concerning TikTok.
However, The Guardian reports that the British Prime Minister is currently not thinking along that line. TikTok is currently very popular among politicians in the UK, which makes the decision a bit more difficult to take.
A No 10 spokesperson told The Guardian that he was “not aware” of any ban on Downing Street staff using the China-owned app.
“We [No 10] have got a TikTok account, but I don’t think we’ve put anything on it for a little while now,” he said. “It’s for individual departments and ministers to choose which social media platforms they want to use.”
However, the chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee Alicia Kearns, told the Guardian “We’ve now seen both the EU and US take decisive action on TikTok over security concerns: the acquisition of our personal data by a hostile state. We run the risk of becoming a tech security laggard amongst free and open nations.
“The government needs to reconsider its policies and move to ban government officials and parliamentary staff from installing the app on any mobile phones utilised for work. We need an informed discussion across our country, including with our children, about the importance of our data and all it can reveal about us, and how it can make us vulnerable.”
In the US, TikTok has probably been banned from several devices owned by government officials in state level. A couple of weeks ago, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat asked both Google and Apple to ban the app. Senator Bennet, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to the two tech giants urging them to kick out TikTok from their respective stores.
In the letter, Senator Bennet said that “TikTok, in its current form, [is] an unacceptable threat to the national security of the United States.” In the letter addressed to both Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook, the US Senator representing Colorado, emphasized the same points other US lawmakers had raised in the past about the privacy and security risks TikTok pose to the US and its citizens.
Bennet was specific about ByteDance; warning that the Chinse company could be compelled to “use its influence to advance Chinese government interests,” via TikTok.