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Monday, March 27, 2023

UK Gov’t Asks National Cyber Security Centre to Review TikTok

UK Gov’t Asks National Cyber Security Centre to Review TikTok – The U.K. government has requested the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to examine TikTok, which may lead to a prohibition on the app on government devices. Security minister Tom Tugendhat informed Sky News that the government has tasked the NCSC with investigating the widely-used video sharing app.

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He stated that while he has not ruled out a ban, he would like to wait for the Centre’s evaluation to be completed. “Understanding exactly what the challenges that these apps pose, what they are asking for and how they’re reaching into our lives is incredibly important,” he said.

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The recent announcement comes in response to an article published in the Sunday Times over the weekend, which indicated that a ban is incoming. The newspaper reported that TikTok is likely to be prohibited from all government devices due to concerns about the security of confidential information, which were identified during initial security evaluations. TikTok was also contacted for comment.

A company spokesperson said: “While we await details of any specific concerns the UK government may have, we would be disappointed by such a move. Similar decisions elsewhere have been based on misplaced fears and seemingly driven by wider geopolitics, but we remain committed to working with the government to address any concerns.” 

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“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.” In recent months, the European Commission, the Belgian federal government, and the U.S. House of Representatives have implemented bans on TikTok, a China-owned video-sharing platform. 

This action was taken due to concerns over the security and privacy of user data, as well as apprehensions that the platform’s algorithm-driven content feed could be used as a conduit for Chinese Community Party propaganda or for running state-backed information operations aimed at manipulating public opinion in the West. Also, EU data protection authorities are still investigating the legality of TikTok’s regional data exports. 

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This investigation runs in parallel with the recent negative coverage of the social media platform in the region. According to a report by the Financial Times, the company has been accused of mishandling claims of sexual harassment against a senior manager at its London office. The publication cites five former employees who have either experienced or personally witnessed sexual harassment in the organization’s European and UK offices.

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