New Zealand becomes latest country to ban TikTok on government devices
On Friday, New Zealand said it would ban TikTok on devices with access to the country’s parliamentary network due to cybersecurity concerns.
The move makes it the latest country to restrict the use of the video-sharing app on government-linked devices.
Concerns have increased around the world that the Chinese government could access users’ location and contact information through ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company.
In New Zealand, TikTok will be banned on all devices with access to the parliament network by the end of March.
The head of the parliamentary service, Rafael González-Montero, said in an email to Reuters that the decision was made after consultation with cybersecurity experts and discussions within the government and with other countries.
“Based on this information, the Service has determined that the risks in New Zealand’s current parliamentary environment are unacceptable,” he said.
He added that special arrangements could be made for those who need the app to work.
Speaking at a media briefing, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said New Zealand does not operate like other countries.
“Ministries and agencies are following the[Government’s Communications Security Bureau]advice on IT and cybersecurity policy… we don’t have a common approach to the public sector,” Hipkins said.
Both the New Zealand Defense Force and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Friday that they had already implemented bans on TikTok on work devices.
A spokesman for the New Zealand Defense Force, in an email to Reuters, said the move was a “precautionary approach to protecting the safety and security” of personnel.
On Thursday, the UK banned employees from using TikTok on their work phones with “immediate effect”.
Cabinet Minister Oliver Dowden told Parliament that after review, all employees should “immediately” remove the app from their government devices.
Last month, the White House gave government agencies 30 days to make sure they don’t have TikTok on federal devices and systems. More than 30 US states have also banned employees from using TikTok on government devices.
This week, the Biden administration demanded that TikTok’s Chinese owners relinquish their stakes in the popular video app or face a possible US ban.
TikTok believes these bans are based on “fundamental misconceptions and driven by broader geopolitics.”
The company also clarified that its user data is stored in the United States and Singapore, and not in China.
TikTok’s European user data will begin to be stored in their new European data centers.
When asked about the TikTok ban from the UK and New Zealand on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the two countries should “stop the over-expansion and abuse of the concept of national security and ensure a fair and non-discriminatory environment.” companies from all countries.
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