UK Parliament Bans TikTok from its Network and Devices

The UK parliament has followed the government’s lead in banning TikTok from official devices, and gone further by not allowing any users to access the social networking app from its network, according to reports.

The news follows similar decisions by the governments of the US, Canada, Belgium and the European Commission.

“Following the government’s decision to ban TikTok from government devices, the commissions of both the House of Commons and Lords have decided that TikTok will be blocked from all parliamentary devices and the wider parliamentary network,” a parliamentary spokesperson reportedly said.

“Cybersecurity is a top priority for parliament. However, we do not comment on specific details of our cyber or physical security controls, policies or incidents.”

However, members will still be able to access the social media app on their personal devices using mobile internet connectivity in the House of Commons and Lords.

Read more on TikTok: TikTok Engaging in Excessive Data Collection.

A TikTok spokesman reportedly described the decision as “misguided and based on fundamental misconceptions about our company.”

It represents another blow to the app’s reputation after its CEO, Shou Zi Chew, was hauled in front of a congressional committee this week to face US lawmakers.

At the heart of their concerns are two main issues: that any data hoovered up by the app could ultimately be accessed by the Chinese state; and that Beijing may exert undue influence over TikTok’s algorithm to use it as a de facto propaganda tool.

Ofcom claimed last year that the app was the UK’s fastest growing news source for adults.

TikTok said it is trying to allay the data security concerns by “storing UK user data in our European data centres and tightening data access controls, including third-party independent oversight of our approach.”

However, back in November last year TikTok admitted that staff in China could access European users’ data for specific purposes.

The firm has also been singled out by regulators. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) last September announced its intention to fine TikTok £27m ($33m) for breaking data protection laws, including processing the data of children under the age of 13 without “appropriate” parental consent.

Editorial image credit: Ascannio / Shutterstock.com

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