A cross-party group of MPs and peers have asked the information commissioner to investigate whether the Chinese-owned TikTok’s handling of personal information is in breach of UK law.
The letter from the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) argues that TikTok cannot be compliant with data protection rules – and comes just hours after the UK announced a ban on the popular video-sharing app appearing on ministers’ and officials’ government-owned phones.
IPAC believes TikTok could ultimately be forced to shut operations in the UK if it cannot find a way of complying, amid escalating western pressure on the company because of its Chinese ownership and the security of the data of its millions of users.
But TikTok said it is a victim of “fundamental misconceptions” which it earlier complained were “driven by wider geopolitics” in which ordinary people play no part – and that it had begun work on a European data security plan to head off the legal concern.
Earlier on Thursday, Oliver Dowden, the Cabinet Office minister, said that following a security review by UK intelligence officials, the app would be banned from the government phones of ministers, advisers and civil servants “with immediate effect”.
Dowden said TikTok required users to give permission for the app to access data stored on the device, which is then collected and stored by the company – and can be accessed from China.
Allowing such permissions gives TikTok access to a range of data, including contacts, user content and geolocation data. Dowden said this justified the ban because there was “a specific risk with government devices”.
Britain joined the US, the European Commission, Canada and Belgium in banning TikTok on government devices in recent weeks amid aRead more on theguardian.com