Stormont civil servants are in for a surprise as the social media website, TikTok, will get banned from official devices.
The Chinese government purportedly used the social media platform as a mass data gathering enterprise. In response, Westminster government departments have already enacted a ban last week on their devices.
The Department of Finance issued a statement that explained this ban is a result of weighing the direct risks associated with civil servants using the site on official devices. This ban was carried out on the recommendation of the UK government.
Further input was provided by Jim Gamble, an online safeguarding expert. He revealed that TikTok directly captures user biometric data. It not only captures facial mapping, but voice recognition data and fingerprints, all of which are important to a person’s identity. As such, this has shown that the social platform is performing a mass data harvest without users’ knowledge.
Why Was TikTok Banned By The UK Government On Official Devices?
There are two questions on everyone’s mind. The first— was TikTok created as a way to mine data and to use as an intelligence tool cover? Secondly— is it possible that the data mining happened after its success?
Phillip Ingram, a former military intelligence officer explained that attempting to piece together the intelligence motives of the company is much akin to a needle in a haystack. You never know what the final picture is that will emerge. China appears, at this time, to simply collect as much data from people as possible. But the actual motive— time will tell!
ByteDance (a Chinese company) is the owner of TikTok, and recently, their headquarters were moved to Singapore. Critics have long targeted the company claiming that it has access to sensitive user data such as browsing history and location.
Jim Gamble has further offered that the government is closely looking at the Chinese 2017 national intelligence law. The law basically covers that any organization or person needs to comply with their intelligence services. In the past, even journalists have had their private information accessed and tracked.
Much like other countries, Westminster is following suit. In response, the European Commission has issued a temporary ban as a security measure from civic employees’ phones. This action is in line with most of the US governments (state and Congress) choosing to ban TikTok from official devices.
The Office of Management and Budget believes that this is a necessary cybersecurity step to protect sensitive government data from being compromised. Likewise, Canada’s chief information officer has claimed that this app poses a major unacceptable level of security risk for the Canadian government. As such, devices were banned from accessing the platform there as well.
TikTok issued an official statement that they believe these bans are enacted through misplaced fears and are obviously driven by ulterior geopolitics. They believe that the UK considering the ban is disappointing.
Phillip Ingram points out that the board members of the social platform contain many known Chinese communist party supporters and members. As such, their data harvesting directly benefits communist ideals. It’s clear that the Chinese government, in a bid to control more of their people, is allowing this data mining on a global scale to oppress citizens within the government and the privacy of their own homes.
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