TikTok: Scottish Parliament ‘strongly advises’ MSPs to remove app for security reasons | UK News

Scottish MPs have been “strongly advised” by parliamentary authorities to remove the controversial social media app TikTok from any devices.

The move follows a decision to ban the app from UK government devices.

In an email on Friday, MSPs and staff at Holyrood were “strongly” advised to remove TikTok, including from personal devices used to access the Scottish Parliament’s IT systems.

Alan Balharrie, CIO and group head of digital services, wrote: “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.

“This includes personal devices and SPCB-issued devices.

“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.

“We will continue to liaise with cyber security partners including the National Cyber Security Centre and this advice will be kept under review.”

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Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden announced the banning of TikTok from UK government phones in a statement to parliament on Thursday.

He said there “could” be a risk to how government data and information is used by the app.

Mr Dowden added that while TikTok use is “limited”, banning it is good cyber “hygiene” – and brings the UK in line with the US, Canada and the EU.

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Oliver Dowden says that while TikTok use is ‘limited’, banning it is good cyber ‘hygiene’

The video-sharing app has been under increasing scrutiny over its security and data privacy, with concerns it could be used to promote pro-Beijing views or gather user data – something TikTok strongly denies.

TikTok, owned by Chinese internet company ByteDance, said it was “disappointed” with the decision and said bans were based on “fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics”.

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Why is the UK government taking action against TikTok now when the concerns have long been known? Sky’s Tom Clarke explains the reasons behind the move.

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.”

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