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Irish government consults cyber security experts over TikTok on work phones

The Irish government has sought advice from cyber security experts on whether TikTok should continue to be permitted on work phones used by people in the public sector.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Government was liaising with the country’s National Cyber Security Centre.

Mr Varadkar said there was not yet any change to the government’s position and it was not telling officials to stop using the Chinese-owned app but he said that was being kept “under review”.

His comments come after the UK Government moved to ban TikTok from work phones used by ministers and officials.

“We have requested advice from the national centre for cyber security on TikTok,” Mr Varadkar told reporters in Washington DC.

“As things stand, we’re not advising anybody in the public sector or in government to remove TikTok from their work phone but that is still under review.”

TikTok has been banned from UK Government phones after a security review but ministers and officials will still be able to use it on their personal phones.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had been under pressure from senior MPs to follow the US and the European Union in barring the video-sharing app from official devices.

TikTok, owned by Chinese internet company ByteDance, has insisted the bans are based on “fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics”.

Separate concerns have recently been raised about the CCTV system in operation at the Irish parliament in Dublin which is made by a company linked to the Chinese Communist Party.

A human rights group highlighted qualms about the use of the surveillance cameras inside and outside the Houses of the Oireachtas in Dublin.

Mr Varadkar, who is visiting Washington DC as part of St Patrick’s events, insisted that was an issue for the Oireachtas authorities, not the Government.

“But, you know, those cameras have been in operation for a very long time around Leinster House and other places and I haven’t been made aware of any substantive concerns in relation to them,” he added.