Public bodies tighten restrictions on TikTok

App is now formally banned from Scottish Government devices and can no longer be accessed on Westminster network

Public bodies have placed further restrictions on TikTok – which is to be removed from all Scottish Government devices, while its use will be banned on the Westminster parliamentary network, even on MPs’ own smartphones.

On an FAQs page, the Parliamentary Digital Service – which provides tech services for the Houses of Commons and Lord – stated there will be “no exemptions” from the ban.

The Scottish Government, meanwhile, has put in place a full and formal ban on the installation of TikTok on all its devices. The use of the app by parliamentarians and officials had previously been “strongly advised” against.

Deputy first minister John Swinney said that government-owned devices “are configured in line with best practice from the National Cyber Security Centre”.

“Our decision to prohibit the use of TikTok follows engagement with the UK government on the potential tracking and privacy risks from certain social media apps,” he added. “Currently there is limited use of TikTok within government and limited need for staff to use the app on work devices. This ban will be implemented immediately. It does not extend to personal devices used by staff or the general public.”

The Scottish ban mimics measures implemented earlier this month by the UK government, which has prohibited the use of Twitter on departmental devices, as part of a wider policy in which all phones and computers will only be permitted to install apps on an approved list from the Cabinet Office.

As well as being stripped from their work devices, MPs and parliamentary employees will now be unable to access TikTok while connected to parliament’s WiFi network.

“Following the government’s decision to ban TikTok from government devices, the Commissions of both the House of Commons and Lords have decided that TikTok will be blocked from all parliamentary devices and the wider parliamentary network,” a UK parliament spokesperson said. “Cybersecurity is a top priority for parliament, however we do not comment on specific details of our cyber or physical security controls, policies or incidents.”

PublicTechnology staff

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