British Special Forces have been banned from TikTok and other apps over fears their accounts could be infiltrated by Russian or Chinese spies
- SAS agents are prohibited from using TikTok on military-issue smartphones
- Members of the elite unit are also urged not to use the app on personal phones
- Intelligence experts fear that apps could provide China and Russia with vital data
All SAS agents are banned from using TikTok and other social media apps on their military smartphones.
Elite unit members, as well as those in other Special Forces outfits, are also urged not to use the apps on their own personal phones.
It stems from growing concerns that the apps, especially Chinese-owned TikTok, could lead spies to access top secret data.
It is clear that the warning was issued by the Special Forces Group Intelligence and Security unit.
Intelligence experts fear the apps could provide countries like China and Russia with data that could help identify Special Forces members, secret locations in the UK and abroad, and even compromise operations.
All SAS agents are banned from using TikTok and other social media apps on their military smartphones
The British Special Forces, including the Special Boat Service and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, work closely with members of MI5 and MI6 (File pic)
The British Special Forces, including the Special Boat Service and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, work closely with members of MI5 and MI6.
The identities of individuals are a state secret and their publication is effectively prohibited under a DSMA notice – meaning members cannot be named in the media.
Colonel Phil Ingram, a former military intelligence officer, said: “Apps are one of the biggest emerging threats for hostile intelligence agencies to target individuals.
“It’s not just the data they legally collect if a user accepts the terms, which is often excessive, but it’s also the additional data that can be collected.”
He added: “Apps developed in China are subject to Section Seven of China’s National Intelligence Law, which states that all Chinese organizations and citizens must ‘support, assist and cooperate’ with Chinese intelligence agencies.
“No app from a Chinese source should be on any device, official or private, for any member of the military – the risk of data compromise is just too great.”
The order follows similar bans affecting the military in the US, Canada and parts of the EU.