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Australia prohibits TikTok on government devices citing security concerns

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Australia prohibits TikTok on government devices citing security concerns

Australia has joined the list of US-allied countries that have taken action against the Chinese-owned video app by banning TikTok on all federal government-owned devices on Tuesday over security concerns.

The ban on TikTok by the Australian government highlights concerns over the potential misuse of user data by the Chinese-owned video app’s parent company, ByteDance Ltd, to promote its political goals, posing a threat to the security interests of Western countries.

The ban on TikTok by Australia may reignite diplomatic tensions between the country and China, its largest trading partner, after a relative easing of tensions since Anthony Albanese took office as Prime Minister in May under a Labor government.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said that the ban on TikTok on all federal government-owned devices will come into effect “as soon as practicable”. The decision was made due to security concerns and exemptions will only be given on a case-by-case basis with proper security measures, he added. TikTok expressed its disappointment and criticized the move as being driven by politics rather than facts.

Australia’s ban on TikTok means that all members of the intelligence-sharing network known as the Five Eyes, which includes Canada, the United States, Britain, and New Zealand, have now prohibited the app from government-owned devices. France, Belgium, and the European Commission have also announced similar bans due to concerns over the security of user data.

During his testimony before the U.S. Congress last month, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew denied multiple times that the app shares user data or has any links to the Chinese Communist Party. Meanwhile, TikTok’s Australia and New Zealand General Manager Lee Hunter stated that TikTok should not be singled out as the only app facing security concerns.

TikTok’s Australia and New Zealand General Manager Lee Hunter have stated that “There is no evidence to suggest that TikTok is in any way a security risk to Australians and should not be treated differently to other social media platforms”. This statement comes after the Australian newspaper reported on Monday that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had approved the ban after a review conducted by the Home Affairs department.

Dreyfus confirmed that the federal government had received a report on “Foreign Interference through Social Media Applications” and that the recommendations from the report are currently being considered.

Australian lawmakers are still permitted to use TikTok on their personal mobile devices, but some have opted to delete their accounts. This includes Federal Government Services Minister Bill Shorten and Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews. A spokesperson for the Victoria state government stated that the app will also be banned on state government-owned devices.

As TikTok faces increasing scrutiny over its potential links to the Chinese government, the platform is also facing criticism for its impact on children. TikTok has stated that the Biden administration has required its Chinese owners to sell their stakes or potentially face a ban in the United States.

About Vijendra

Vijendra
Vijendra has a master’s degree in Marketing and editor with passion. Exploring economic policies of different economies and analyzing geo-politics policies is of keen interest. In his free time he is a hardcore metal-rock and punk music fanatic.

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