TikTok ban: The United Kingdom's Parliament banned the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok from its network over privacy and cybersecurity concerns, BBC reported. Speaking to the media, a spokesperson of Downing Street said that the app, which is used by several British MPs, will also be prohibited on devices issued to staff.
It should be noted here that the ban means MPs and visitors to the Parliament will not be allowed to access TikTok on devices connected to official Wi-Fi connections. Instead, customers will need to connect to their own mobile data provider in order to access the app on their phones.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Scottish government also made the announcement that it would join the Welsh government in banning the app from government-issued gadgets.
TikTok accused of stealing users' data
According to various reports, the wildly popular TikTok app collects a lot of data about its users, including their age, location, device, and even their typing patterns. Additionally, its cookies monitor user activity on other websites on the web.
US-based social media platforms also do this, but ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok in China, has come under scrutiny for allegedly being controlled by Beijing.
ALSO READ: TikTok star Jehane Thomas dies at 30, days after complaining about persistent migraines
TikTok denies all allegations
Meanwhile, TikTok has categorically refuted allegations that it provides users' data to the Chinese government. In a statement, it called UK Parliament's decision as "misguided" and said that it was based on fundamental misconceptions about the company.
It is pertinent to mention here that several countries in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific have banned the popular video-sharing app TikTok from government devices as privacy and cybersecurity concerns increase. Meanwhile, a handful has also prohibited the app altogether.
ALSO READ: TikTok still has Indian users’ data, and it could be dangerous: Know-why?
Here's the list of countries that have imposed partial or total bans on TikTok:
India imposed a nationwide ban on TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps, including the messaging app WeChat, in 2020 over privacy and security concerns. The ban came shortly after a clash between Indian and Chinese troops at a disputed Himalayan border killed 20 Indian soldiers and injured dozens. The companies were given a chance to respond to questions on privacy and security requirements but the ban was made permanent in January 2021.
The US at the start of March gave government agencies 30 days to delete TikTok from federal devices and systems over data security concerns. The ban applies only to government devices, though some U.S. lawmakers are advocating an outright ban. China lashed out at the U.S. for banning TikTok, describing the ban as an abuse of state power and suppressing firms from other countries. More than half of the 50 U.S. states also have banned the app from official devices, as have Congress and the U.S. armed forces.
Pakistani authorities have temporarily banned TikTok at least four times since October 2020, citing concerns that app promotes immoral content.
In December 2022, Taiwan imposed a public sector ban on TikTok after the FBI warned that TikTok posed a national security risk. Government devices, including mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers, are not allowed to use Chinese-made software, which include apps like TikTok, its Chinese equivalent Douyin, or Xiaohongshu, a Chinese lifestyle content app.
Lawmakers in New Zealand and staff at the nation's Parliament will be prohibited from having the TikTok app on their work phones, following advice from government cybersecurity experts. Under the ban, which takes effect at the end of March, the app will be removed from all devices with access to the parliamentary network, although officials can make special arrangements for anybody who needs TikTok to perform their democratic duties.
The Norwegian parliament on Thursday banned Tiktok on work devices, after the country's Justice Ministry warned the app shouldn't be installed on phones issued to government employees. The Parliament's speaker said TikTok shouldn't be on devices that have access to the assembly's systems and should be removed as quickly as possible. The country's capital Oslo and second largest city Bergen also urged municipal employees to remove TikTok from their work phones.
Afghanistan's Taliban leadership banned TikTok and the game PUBG in 2022 on the grounds of protecting young people from "being misled."
Belgium temporarily banned TikTok from devices owned or paid for by the federal government, citing worries about cybersecurity, privacy and misinformation. Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said the six-month ban was based on warnings from the state security service and its cybersecurity center.
Canada announced that government-issued devices must not use TikTok, saying that it presents an "unacceptable" risk to privacy and security. Employees will also be blocked from downloading the application in the future.
Denmark's Defense Ministry banned its employees from having TikTok on their work phones, ordering staffers who have installed it to remove the app from devices as soon as possible. The ministry said the reasons for the ban included both "weighty security considerations" as well as "very limited work-related need to use the app."
The European Parliament, European Commission and the EU Council, the 27-member bloc's three main institutions, have imposed bans on TikTok on staff devices. Under the European Parliament's ban, lawmakers and staff were also advised to remove the TikTok app from their personal devices.
(With inputs from AP)