British Security Minister Tom Tugendhat has asked the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) to investigate TikTok after governments around the world began banning its use on work calls.
Chinese-owned video-sharing app is gaining traction in Europe and the U.S. Security and Data Privacyfearing it could be used to promote pro-Beijing views or collect user data.
European Commission More than half of U.S. states and Congress have enacted bans amid concerns over potential cyberattacks.
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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hinted it would follow suit, saying Britain would “see what our allies are doing”.
and UK parliament closes own account Last year, members of Congress raised concerns about the company’s ties to China.
But TikTok hit back, saying the government ban was “misguided and based on a fundamental misunderstanding.”
Confirming his request for an investigation into the app, Mr Tugendhat told Sky News it was “absolutely necessary” to keep the UK’s “diplomatic process free and safe”.
“It’s important to understand exactly the challenges these apps pose, their requirements, and how they enter our lives,” he added.
The Conservative MP, who said he did not own the app “for a number of reasons – mainly as you can probably guess”, did not rule out banning it on government phones, but said he wanted to wait for the NCSC’s conclusions before saying more.
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“Different countries have taken different approaches,” Mr Tugendhat added.
“The Indian government has banned TikTok and many other apps, the US government has taken different options when it comes to government phones … different companies and different countries have taken different approaches.
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“To be sure, TikTok is now a news source for many young people.
“It’s very true that we know who owns the news sources in the UK … it’s important that we know who owns the news sources that are being fed into our phones.”
A TikTok spokesperson told Sky News: “While we are awaiting details of any specific concerns the UK government may have, we would be disappointed by such a move.
“Similar decisions elsewhere have been based on misplaced fear and appear to be driven by broader geopolitics, but we remain committed to working with the government to resolve any issues.
“We have embarked on a comprehensive plan to further safeguard our European user data, which includes storing UK user data in our European data centers and strengthening data access controls, including independent oversight of our methods by third parties.”