Brits don’t need to delete TikTok accounts but should be wary of Chinese data harvesting

A picture taken on February 28, 2023 in Randers, Denmark shows a Hand holding a smartphone with the TikTok app on the screen. - Denmark's parliament announced February 28, 2023 that it had asked MPs and all staff to remove the TikTok app from mobile devices because of the "risk of spying". It follows recommendations from the Danish Centre for Cyber Security urging officials and civil servants to remove TikTok from their phones, after the European Commission banned the app on work devices to "protect" the institution. (Photo by Bo Amstrup / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP) / Denmark OUT (Photo by BO AMSTRUP/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

BRITS do not need to delete TikTok accounts but should be aware of how much of their data China is harvesting, a minister said today.

The app’s owner is subject to national security laws that require companies to share data with China’s government.

Oliver Dowden warned: ‘Many viewers may not quite know how much data is being hoovered up, be it geolocation, contacts’

Oliver Dowden told BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg: “Many viewers may not quite know how much data is being hoovered up, be it geolocation, contacts.

“I think the balance we’ve struck is the right one, given the sensitive nature of government information”.

He added: “Just be cautious, be aware of the amount of data being harvested.”

“We live in a free country and people should be able to make their own choices, but they should make an informed choice about the amount of data that is available there.”

BBC staff have been told to delete the app from business phones.

This week, the Government told ministers and civil servants to wipe it — following countries such as the US and Canada.

The US government confirmed earlier this week that TikTok faces a country-wide ban – unless it is sold to a different company.

Earlier this month, the European Parliament, European Commission, and the EU Council – the three top EU bodies – also all imposed bans on TikTok on staff devices, citing cybersecurity concerns.

The app, currently owned by Chinese technology giant ByteDance, has amassed more than 1billion users worldwide since it launched six years ago.

It became particularly popular and a source of entertainment for many during successive Covid-19 lockdowns, beginning in 2020.

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