Thursday, July 18, 2024
Smartphone news

Tik Tok: MSPs banned from using app on government phones

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Use of TikTok has exploded in recent years, with 3.5 billion downloads worldwide

MSPs and staff working at the Scottish parliament have been banned from using Chinese-owned social media app TikTok on their work phones.

It follows a similar decision taken by the UK government, banning ministers from using the app.

Last week, Holyrood officials said they “strongly advised” removing the platform.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the decision to ban TikTok was due to “potential tracking and privacy risks”.

He said Scottish government devices were configured in line with best practice from the National Cyber Security Centre, which helps manage any risk associated with third-party applications.

“Currently there is limited use of TikTok within government and limited need for staff to use the app on work devices,” he added.

“This ban will be implemented immediately. It does not extend to personal devices used by staff or the general public.”

Mr Swinney said the decision to ban the social media app followed engagement with the UK government.

The company is under increasing scrutiny over security and data privacy concerns, but denies allegations that it hands users’ data to the Chinese government.

Use of TikTok has exploded in recent years, with 3.5 billion downloads worldwide.

Image caption,

Ross Greer of the Scottish Greens is one MSP who uses the social media platform

Its algorithm serves up videos which appeal to individual users.

The app gathers a lot of information on users – including their age, location, device and even their typing rhythms – while its cookies track their activity elsewhere on the internet.

The United States barred TikTok from official devices in December, and the European Commission followed suit last month.

The US government has also threatened to ban the app in the country amid reports it has requested a change in ownership.

But the company said a forced sale would not change its data flows or access.

TikTok insists it does not share data with Chinese officials.

China has accused the US of spreading disinformation and suppressing TikTok.

Western social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are blocked in China.


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