Rishi Sunak: 'Perfectly normal' to ban TikTok on government phones due to security risk

Credit: Here's the Story/PA

The Prime Minister has told ITV News' Here's the Story a TikTok ban on government devices is "perfectly normal" given the "sensitive information" held on official phones.

Speaking for the first time since the Chinese-owned app was banned on all government and parliamentary devices, Rishi Sunak said: "I think when it comes to government information, it's of course important that we take security really seriously with sensitive government information. I think that's perfectly normal."

The majority of ITV News' Here's the Story are based on TikTok and would be watching the PM's interview on the app.

The Prime Minister spoke exclusively with Here's the Story as he launched his anti-social behaviour action plan

Mr Sunak had faced increasing pressure from senior MPs to follow the US and EU in banning the social media app from government devices.

Announcing the ban earlier in March, the Cabinet Office said it was because TikTok users are required to hand over data including contacts, user content and geolocation data.

While ministers and civil servants haven't been forced to delete the app from their personal devices, they will be issued with advice on the risks it could carry.

The Scottish government has followed suit and announced it too would ban the app from official devices.

Mr Sunak told Here's the Story: "We think it's a proportionate response to the challenge that is posed and is a response that is in line with most of our other ally countries [...] given the security concerns we have".

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before the US Congress last week, telling senators there was "no evidence" the Chinese government had access to user data in the US.

At the time the ban was announced, a Chinese embassy spokesperson accused the government of acting "based on its political motive rather than facts".

TikTok, owned by Chinese internet company ByteDance, said it was "disappointed" with the decision and said bans were based on "fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics".

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know