TikTok is under investigation by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre

Abeerah Hashim  - Security Expert
Last updated: November 10, 2023
TikTok is under investigation
  • According to a directive issued by the security minister, the UK's National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) is investigating TikTok.
  • The United Kingdom will follow in the footsteps of the United States, the European Union, and Canada to conduct a security and data protection review of TikTok.
  • The authorities are considering whether the Chinese-owned video app is a potential national security threat.

On Tuesday, the UK’s security minister, Tom Tugendhat, directed the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) to investigate whether they should ban the video app from government devices.

NCSC remarks and implications for National Security

The NCSC is currently reviewing TikTok because the video app risks the UK’s national security through user data stored on it.

Following the investigation of the video app, it is still unclear whether or not TikTok will be banned. However, in a conversation with the UK’s security minister, he mentioned that the conclusion depends on the NCSC reviews.

The NCSC’s cyber security experts’ feedback will confirm whether the user’s data is safe on TikTok and whether it does not pose a security threat to the country.

He said about the reviews:

“Understanding exactly what challenges these apps pose, what they are seeking, and how they are extending into our lives is incredibly important.”

This means that he ordered TikTok investigations so that the NCSC could learn about and understand the effects of TikTok use. Also, to determine the amount of user data stored on the app and whether the Chinese government can use it to infiltrate national security.

The average youth uses TikTok, which means the government can access various news sources. As part of the steps taken, the security minister mentioned identifying the owner of these new sources within the UK.

International reactions and TikTok’s defense against data privacy accusations

Recently, the US, EU, and Canada banned all government staff and employees from installing the TikTok app on their devices. This increased pressure on the UK to follow in the footsteps of its allies and review TikTok as well.

The fact that the well-known video app is owned by the Chinese and under the Chinese government’s control, according to these nations that have outlawed TikTok, poses a threat.

This is due to the Chinese government’s ability to use TikTok to spy on the data of citizens and the government. Data leakage is dangerous to the security of any nation.

Aside from that, the Chinese government is not a UK ally, necessitating safeguarding all data and watching for potential security threats.

Even though the app is blocked in some countries, such as India, TikTok users reached 1.8 billion by the end of 2022, with over 1 billion monthly active users. With this many users, it is evident that a large amount of data is stored, hence the need for data privacy.

TikTok has a privacy policy, but it states that Chinese staff may be able to access users’ data in some instances that they did not mention. That indeed raises privacy and security concerns on Tiktok. This is another reason why the governments of these countries are investigating the video app.

The Chinese government may decide to collect data from users’ phones and devices in the UK to promote political control. However, in response to the ongoing TikTok investigation, its spokesperson stated that it would be disappointing to learn that the UK banned TikTok from government devices.

Other countries, he claims, have made such decisions out of unnecessary fear and are motivated by larger geopolitics. He also stated that steps were being taken on their end to secure the data of UK users.

TikTok defended its functions as any other social media platform and denied allegations that it provides information to the Chinese government.

However, because of concerns about potential cyber-attacks, it is critical to prohibit the usage of any foreign-based technology device that poses a threat to national security.

After all, every government should be responsible for citizens’ safety.

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About the Author

Abeerah Hashim

Abeerah Hashim

Security Expert

Abeerah is a passionate technology blogger and cybersecurity enthusiast. She yearns to know everything about the latest technology developments. Specifically, she’s crazy about the three C’s; computing, cybersecurity, and communication. When she is not writing, she’s reading about the tech world.

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