MSPs have been “strongly advised” to remove the controversial app TikTok from any devices, it has emerged.
The move comes shortly after the app was banned on government-issued devices by the UK Government, amid fears of sensitive data being accessed by the Chinese government.
In an email to all parliamentary staff and MSPs, Alan Balharrie, CIO and group head of digital services, advised the removal of the app.
He wrote: “After discussions with the National Cyber Security Centre, we are strongly advising that all members, members’ staff, parliament staff and contractors’ staff remove the TikTok app from any device currently used to access the Scottish Parliament’s IT systems.
“This includes personal devices and Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body-issued devices.
“We are giving this advice based on a precautionary approach and the best information available to us at this moment given the concerns around the information the TikTok application can collect from devices.
“We consider this advice to be proportionate and necessary given the situation as we currently understand it.
“We will continue to liaise with cyber security partners including the National Cyber Security Centre and this advice will be kept under review.”
Oliver Dowden announced the ban on Thursday, citing fears over the protection of sensitive UK Government data.
It means users of government-issued devices, bar officials with specific exemptions, will be prohibited from using the popular video-sharing application.
Owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, TikTok said it was “disappointed” with the decision and said bans were based on “fundamental misconceptions” and driven by “wider geopolitics”.
A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Britain accused ministers of acting “based on its political motive rather than facts”.
But Downing Street said a security review had concluded that Government data could be “potentially vulnerable” via the social media platform.
The Cabinet Office said the ban was being imposed because TikTok users are required to hand over data including contacts, user content and geolocation data.
TikTok has long said it does not share data with China but the country’s intelligence legislation requires firms to help the Communist Party when requested.
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