Scottish Parliament phones and gadgets won’t have access to TikTok anymore

“Parliamentary officials have “strongly advised” Scottish MPs to delete the contentious social media app TikTok from any devices. In an email sent on Friday, MSPs and employees at Holyrood were “strongly” instructed to delete TikTok, including from mobile devices used to access the IT systems of the Scottish Parliament.

“After discussions with the National Cyber Security Centre, we are strongly advising that all members, members’ staff, parliament staff and contractors’ staff remove the TikTok app from any device currently used to access the Scottish Parliament’s IT systems,” wrote Alan Balharrie, CIO and group head of digital services. “This includes personal devices and SPCB-issued devices.”

TikTok is removed from UK government phones

“We are giving this advice based on a precautionary approach and the best information available to us at this moment given the concerns around the information the TikTok application can collect from devices. We consider this advice to be proportionate and necessary given the situation as we currently understand it.”

Credits: Reuters

In a speech to parliament on Thursday, Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden announced the removal of TikTok from UK government phones. According to him, there “could” be a risk in how the app uses government data and information. While TikTok use is “limited,” Mr Dowden continued, banning it is good “cyber hygiene” and aligning the UK with the US, Canada, and the EU. The video-sharing software has been under increased scrutiny for security and data privacy due to worries that it may be used to spread pro-Beijing ideologies or collect user data, both of which TikTok vehemently rejects.

Apart from Scottish several others has also decided to ban the application

ByteDance, a Chinese internet business that owns TikTok, expressed its “disappointment” with the decision and said the prohibitions were motivated by “broader geopolitics” and based on “basic misunderstandings”. The spokesperson added, “We remain committed to working with the government to address any concerns but should be judged on facts and treated equally to our competitors.

“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.”

TikTok has also been banned on staff devices by the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the EU Council, three of the leading EU institutions. Chinese software has additionally been prohibited in Taiwan and Afghanistan. At least four times, Pakistan has temporarily outlawed TikTok due to worries that the software encourages the consumption of pornographic material.