Concerns about TikTok’s links to China through its parent company, ByteDance
In a new development of the crisis of Chinese technology companies in the European and American markets, the United Kingdom banned the “Tik Tok” application from official government agencies, adding to similar restrictions imposed by allies in Canada, the European Union and the United States.
The social media app is not widely used by British officials, according to a government announcement. But the action reflects concerns about TikTok’s links to China through its parent company, ByteDance, and the possibility that the Chinese government could pressure companies to hand over personal information to users. In a statement, UK Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden told lawmakers: “This is a proportionate step based on specific risks with government agencies.”
While the company that owns the Chinese application expressed its disappointment with the decision. A spokesperson for the company said: “We believe this ban has been based on fundamental misconceptions and is driven by wider geopolitics, where the app and its millions of users in the UK play no role. We remain committed to working with the government to address any concerns but facts must be judged on the basis of facts.” Treat it on an equal footing with our competitors.
The company said it was working voluntarily to address security concerns by taking technical and bureaucratic measures to isolate user data in the United States and the European Union from its global operations. It also said it had not received any request from the Chinese government for user information and would resist such calls.
As for the “Tik Tok” application, according to a recent statement, it announced that it “has begun implementing a comprehensive plan for further protection of European user data, which includes storing user data in the United Kingdom in our European data centers and tightening data access controls, including independent oversight.” from a third party on our approach.”
The UK announcement comes a day after TikTok said the US administration had asked the company’s Chinese owners to sell their shares or risk a ban on their dealings. Last December, US President Joe Biden signed a law banning the use of the Chinese app on federal government devices, joining what has become a list of more than half of US states.
According to CNN, US lawmakers have proposed expanding the Biden administration’s authority to enact a nationwide ban on the Chinese app. This month, a bipartisan group of senators unveiled legislation that would give the Commerce Department wide latitude to review and ban technologies linked to foreign adversaries, a proposal quickly welcomed by the White House.
And in Europe, New Zealand is set to ban TikTok from all devices that can access its parliament by the end of this month, becoming the latest country to impose an official bar on the popular social media platform owned by a Beijing-based tech conglomerate.
Led by the United States of America, an increasing number of Western countries are imposing restrictions on the use of the Chinese app on government agencies due to national security concerns. According to a statement, Rafael Gonzalez Montero, chief executive of the New Zealand Parliamentary Service, said the risks of maintaining the video-sharing app were “unacceptable”.
“This decision was made based on our expert analysis and after discussion with our colleagues across government and internationally,” he wrote. “On the advice of our cybersecurity experts, the Parliamentary Service has informed members and staff that the TikTok app will be removed from all devices with access to the Parliamentary Network,” he added. But he said those who need the app to “perform their democratic duties” may get an exception.
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