Australia to ban TikTok on government devices over fears the Chinese app poses a national security risk and is used to track every move
National security fears have led to TikTok being banned from Australian government-issued devices
According to The Australian newspaper, the directive was issued by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese following a review of the home affairs department’s findings into the potential risks from the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform.
This ban would apply to all mobile phones and devices that are issued by the government to politicians and public servants.
It is understood that the federal ban was briefed on Monday to state and territory governments. They are expected to continue with similar bans.
The Albanese government is expected to announce the ban on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Concerns over TikTok relate to the potential for data to be harvested and accessed by the Chinese government under national laws that can compel companies to hand over information.
Federal opposition members have been calling on the government to address national security concerns and follow the lead of other countries when it comes to imposing bans.
ByteDance, which owns the social media app, has denied its user data can be supplied to Beijing and claims TikTok poses no risk to Australians.
TikTok responded to the ban late on Monday night.
‘If confirmed, we are extremely disappointed by this decision which, in our view, is driven by politics, not fact,’ a statement from Lee Hunter, General Manager of TikTok in Australia and New Zealand, read.
‘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 … 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.’
The move follows the United States, Canada, and the European Union prohibiting government employees from having TikTok on work-issued devices.
The UK, New Zealand, France, Norway, and the Netherlands are the latest countries to announce bans on the app on government devices.