TikTok banned on Australian government devices
The Australian government has recently banned the popular short-video-sharing app TikTok from all federal and government-owned devices. This new ruling was put in place due to security concerns regarding TikTok stealing personal information from its users.
The ban underscores growing worries that China could use the Beijing-based company, owned by ByteDance Ltd, to harvest users' data to advance its political agenda, undermining Western security interests. It also risks renewing diplomatic tension between Australia and its largest trading partner after things eased somewhat since Prime Minister Anthony Albanese took office in May at the head of a Labour government.
TikTok said it was extremely disappointed by Australia's decision, calling it "driven by politics, not by the fact". The ban will come into effect "as soon as practicable", Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said in a statement, adding that exemptions would only be granted on a case-by-case basis and with appropriate security measures in place.
With Australia's ban, all members of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network - which consists of Australia, Canada, the United States, Britain and New Zealand - have banned the app from government devices. France, Belgium and the European Commission have announced similar bans.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, in testimony before the U.S. Congress last month, repeatedly denied the app shares data or has connections with the Chinese Communist Party. TikTok's Australia and New Zealand General Manager Lee Hunter said TikTok should not be singled out. "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.