TikTok ban: UK parliament and Scottish government block app amid alarm over security

·2-min read

TikTok has been banned in the UK parliament and its network, as well on Scottish government devices, in the latest blow for the app.

The new measures were announced as TikTok launched an attempt to avoid a complete ban in the US, during hearings in Congress. They came at the same time as its chief executive, Shou Chew, told US politicians that the app was safe – but that he could not guarantee that the Chinese government cannot influence its content.

The UK’s parliament announced that the app will be blocked from “all parliamentary devices and the wider parliamentary network”, and pointed to concerns about security.

“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 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.”

The Scottish government then said it was following Westminster in blocking the app. The decision had followed discussions with the UK government, it said.

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.”