Sunak Hints To Follow US And EU TikTok Ban For Government Staff Devices

Rishi Sunak has hinted that the UK could follow in the footsteps of the US and the European Union by banning the popular social media app TikTok from government phones and devices.

The prime minister said Britain would “watch what our allies are doing” when it came to reviewing the presence of the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform on staff equipment.

Washington and the European Commission have already moved to ban the app on devices issued to staff or on personal phones used for work.

Rishi Sunak visits the US
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke in San Diego (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The hint from the Conservative Party leader comes after senior lawmakers urged him to follow the lead of the United States and Brussels.

Mr Sunak, speaking during a visit to San Diego, USA, told the BBC: “We don’t routinely comment on matters like that.

“But what I would say is, of course, we take device security seriously.

“And we also look at what our allies are doing and we are in the process of doing all of that.”

He told ITV News ministers took the government’s use of IT “very seriously”.

Repeating his statement on considering the approach taken by allies, the Prime Minister added: “We want to make sure that we protect the integrity and security of sensitive information.

“And we will always do that and take the steps necessary to make sure that happens.”

It comes after The Sunday Times reported that experts from GCHQ’s National Cyber ​​Security Center have assessed the app and identified risks to sensitive information.

online security invoice
Former culture secretary Nadine Dorries used TikTok while in a post (@nadinedorriesmp)

The newspaper report suggested that while ministers and civil servants will not be told to remove the app from their personal devices, it is expected that advice will be issued to explain what the risks are.

Security officials raised concerns that information from the app could be shared with the Chinese government.

The European Commission said it banned the device from staff devices after “careful” analysis, but did not share what information the policy was based on.

TikTok has long argued that it does not share data with China.

However, Chinese intelligence law requires companies, including tech giants, to help the Communist Party and its intelligence services when called upon, a policy some critics of China fear would expose Western data to Beijing.

Parliament’s TikTok account was shut down last year after MPs raised concerns about the company’s ties to China.

Nonetheless, the app has become increasingly popular with politicians in recent years, with some parliamentarians amassing tens of thousands of followers.

Former health secretary and reality TV star Matt Hancock is a regular user, while Energy Security and Net Zero secretary Grant Shapps also has an account.

Nadine Dorries was also known to post on TikTok when she was serving as culture secretary during Boris Johnson’s tenure.


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