Australia Bans TikTok on Official Devices – Australia joined a long list of western countries that have banned TikTok on official devices. The measure was announced by Attorney General Mark Dreyfus, who stated that the ban will be imposed “as soon as practicable.”
Dreyfus stated in his announcement that the decision was made “after receiving advice from intelligence and security agencies.” In addition, Australia modified its Preventive Security Policy Framework (PSPF) to reflect the fact that TikTok’s data gathering activities represent a security risk.
“The TikTok application poses significant security and privacy risks to non-corporate Commonwealth entities arising from an extensive collection of user data and exposure to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflicts with Australian law,” the directive said.
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The authorities said that it will allow the use of the short video app for “a legitimate business reason” and on a separate “standalone device.” Australia’s action is consistent with those of its neighbor New Zealand and fellow Five Eyes collective members the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, which have all prohibited TikTok’s use on official devices.
Separately, the EU and Belgium have restricted the use of the ByteDance app on government devices. TikTok responded to the Australian government’s decision by expressing its disappointment in this politically motivated action. “We are extremely disappointed by this decision, which, in our view, is driven by politics, not by fact.”
“We are also disappointed that TikTok, and the millions of Australians who use it, were left to learn of this decision through the media, despite our repeated offers to engage with the government constructively about this policy.” “Again, we stress 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.”
“Our millions of Australian users deserve a government which makes decisions based upon facts and who treats all businesses fairly, regardless of country of origin,” Lee Hunter, General Manager, TikTok Australia and New Zealand said in a statement. Last month, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before the U.S Congress in a grueling five-hour session.
In the hearing, Chew tried to assure lawmakers that Chinese authorities don’t have access to U.S. users’ data. “Let me state this unequivocally: ByteDance is not an agent of China or any other country,” he said. ByteDance is under pressure from the Biden administration to sell off TikTok US or face an embargo.