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Australia joins western nations in banning TikTok on government devices


Australia has announced a ban on the use of TikTok, the popular short video-sharing app, on government devices. The decision came after its Five Eyes intelligence alliance partners – including the United States, Britain, New Zealand, and Canada implemented similar restrictions due to concerns over security risks posed by the app. Additionally, Norway, the European Parliament, and NATO have imposed similar restrictions on the app.

Australia’s Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, revealed the ban on Tuesday, stating that the decision was taken “after receiving advice from intelligence and security agencies.”

TikTok’s General Manager for Australia and New Zealand, Lee Hunter, expressed disappointment at the decision, stating it was driven by politics rather than facts. “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,” Hunter said in a statement.

Australia’s attorney general has indicated that exemptions to the ban may be granted on a case-by-case basis, provided appropriate security measures are in place. As of early 2023, TikTok boasts 8.30 million Australian users aged 18 and above.

Several countries including the US is concerned that China may leverage its national security laws to access confidential user data from TikTok. Last month, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew faced a high-profile congressional hearing addressing the company’s alleged ties to the Chinese government. While Chew stated that the Chinese government had never requested TikTok’s data and that the company would reject any such request, Chinese law requires companies to provide data upon request by the government or its agencies.

Back in 2020, Tiktok was banned in India along with 300 other Chinese apps over national security issues. The company ended its final chapter in India by firing its entire staff in the country in February 2023.

In December, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration banned the app on all House-managed devices in the U.S. Following this, a partial or full ban on the Chinese app was imposed by several states in the United States, which has at least 100 million TikTok users. The company has been denying all the allegations and assuring the U.S. government that its users’ data cannot be accessed and content cannot be manipulated by the Communist Party or anyone else in its home country.


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