THE SCOTTISH Government looks set to ban minsters and civil servants from using TikTok on official devices over secrecy fears. 

A spokesman said they were considering the “need for further action on this issue” after the use of the Chinese app was restricted on UK Government devices.

Under Beijing’s National Intelligence Law, all companies have an obligation to cooperate with intelligence services, leading to fears that ByteDance, the company that owns the social media firm could give the authoritarian state access to private information. 


The British ban follows similar steps taken by the US and the European Union.

Mr Dowden said the decision had been taken following “advice from our cyber security experts.”

He added: “The security of sensitive Government information must come first, so today we are banning this app on Government devices. The use of other data-extracting apps will be kept under review,” the minister said.

But he said there will be “limited exemptions” on some Government devices made on a “case by case basis” where the video-sharing app is required for work purposes.

TikTok said it was “disappointed” with the decision.

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A spokesman said: “We believe these bans have been based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics, in which TikTok and our millions of users in the UK, play no part.

“We remain committed to working with the Government to address any concerns but should be judged on facts and treated equally to our competitors.”

Following the UK Government’s decision, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton asked the Scottish Government whether it would also block access to TikTok on Scottish Government devices.

He said: “Conversations about how these tools could theoretically be exploited for nefarious purposes have been swirling for some time.

“The Scottish Government should confirm whether it will be ordering TikTok to be removed from all work devices.

“From companies subject to Chinese state intelligence laws at the heart of our CCTV systems to a so-called ‘police station’ in Glasgow, it’s clear that there is a need for an immediate strategic audit of the reach of China’s interests and influence in Scotland.”

Responding to the call, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Regulatory responsibility for social media lies with the UK Government.

"Devices managed by the Scottish Government are configured in line with best practice from the National Cyber Security Centre, which helps us to manage any risk associated with the use of third-party applications.

"Following this announcement, officials are liaising with the Cabinet Office as we consider the need for further action on this issue.”

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Despite the Whitehall ban, one UK Government minister said he would keep on using the app on his personal phone. 

Writing on TikTok, Grant Shapps, the Energy Security Secretary, said: “I’ve never used TikTok on Government devices and can hereby confirm I will NOT be leaving TikTok anytime soon!”

He included a clip from the Wolf Of Wall Street movie in which Leonardo DiCaprio, portraying a New York stockbroker, declares he is “not f****** leave” and the “show goes on”.

A spokeswoman for Mr Shapps said: “Grant has never used TikTok on Government devices and believes security measures – like not sharing location permission – are sensible.

“However, he is concerned that representatives of the people who deliberately choose not to engage with the public on the platforms that they actually use are unlikely to continue to represent these voters for long.”