Scottish Government bans TikTok amid cybersecurity fears

Concerns have been raised around the usage of the Chinese-owned app around sensitive government data.

Scottish Government bans Chinese-owned app TikTok amid cybersecurity fears iStock

The Scottish Government has banned TikTok from employee mobile phones and other corporate devices following discussions with the UK Government.

It comes after parliament announced on Thursday that the app was being blocked from its devices and networks in the latest ban imposed on the social media app.

Cabinet office minister Oliver Dowden told MPs a week ago that the social media app will be banned on all UK Government phones.

He made the announcement after security concerns were raised around usage of the Chinese-owned app.

The new measures announced will apply to all devices used by government ministers and civil servants, but the ban will not apply to personal devices for ministers, government employees or the public.

Deputy first minister John Swinney said: “Devices managed by the Scottish Government are configured in line with best practice from the National Cyber Security Centre, which helps us to manage any risk associated with the use of third-party applications.

“Our decision to prohibit the use of TikTok follows engagement with the UK Government on the potential tracking and privacy risks from certain social media apps.

“Currently there is limited use of TikTok within government and limited need for staff to use the app on work devices. This ban will be implemented immediately. It does not extend to personal devices used by staff or the general public.”

A Parliament spokesman said: “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.

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

A spokesperson for TikTok said: “As we have said, we believe these bans are based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics. We are readily available to meet with the Scottish Government to address any concerns but should be judged on facts and treated equally to our competitors.

“We have begun implementing a comprehensive plan to further protect our European user data, which includes storing UK user data in our European data centres and tightening data access controls, including third-party independent oversight of our approach.”

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