New Zealand has joined the UK and European Union in banning the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok from government mobile phones on security grounds.
The NZ government has determined the national security risks are too high but Australia is yet to follow many other countries like the US and Canada, which put bans in place last month.
NZ service chief executive Rafael Gonzalez-Montero said the parliamentary service had informed members and staff the TikTok app would be removed from all devices with access to the parliamentary network.
“This decision has been made based on our own experts’ analysis and following discussion with our colleagues across government and internationally,” Gonzalez-Montero said.
“Based on this information the Service has determined that the risks are not acceptable in the current New Zealand Parliamentary environment.”
An email seen by NZ’s 1News confirmed the determination the application posed a national security risk.
Earlier today, UK cabinet office minister Oliver Dowden told parliament the ban applied with immediate effect to work phones and other devices used by government ministers and civil servants.
He described the ban as a “precautionary move” and said it did not apply to personal phones and devices.
“Given the particular risk around government devices, which may contain sensitive information, it is both prudent and proportionate to restrict the use of certain apps, particularly when it comes to apps where a large amount of data can be stored and accessed,” Dowden told British lawmakers.
The US government mandated last month that employees of federal agencies have to delete TikTok from all government-issued mobile devices.
Congress, the White House, US armed forces and more than half of US states already had banned the app.
The European Union, Belgium and others have also temporarily banned the app from employee phones.
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The moves were prompted by growing concerns that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, would give user data such as browsing history and location to the Chinese government, or push propaganda and misinformation on its behalf.
The company has insisted such concerns are based on “misinformation” and said it was taking steps to boost protection of user data from the UK and Europe.
“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 U.K, play no part,” the company said.
“We remain committed to working with the government to address any concerns but should be judged on facts and treated equally to our competitors.”
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Last modified: April 24, 2023