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New Zealand followed other Western countries in banning the use of the video-sharing app TikTok on lawmakers’ devices on Friday, citing security concerns.
Governments in Canada, Australia, the UK and the US have already banned the use of video sharing app TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, on government devices due to cyber security concerns. All devices accessing the New Zealand parliamentary network will now ban TikTok from March 31.
Rafael González Montero, head of New Zealand’s parliamentary services, said the decision was made after consultation with cyber security experts.
He said that the people who need this app to fulfill their democratic responsibilities will be given another choice. This platform can currently be accessed via a web browser. Cybersecurity services provider CyberCX said the ban was necessary to protect New Zealand’s security, particularly the sensitive information stored on lawmakers’ devices.
Adam Boileau, executive director of security testing at CyberCX, said, “If TikTok is ordered to serve China’s interests, it poses serious risks to our security. That’s why the government provides this ban on mobile phones is necessary.”
He added, “We must assess the potential threats from foreign technologies other than TikTok as soon as possible. The more we use foreign technologies, the more the threat to our country’s security increases.”
Tik Tok was first banned by India
The ban on Tik Tok started in 2020 when India first banned it. New Delhi banned the Chinese app after the clash on the India-China border, in which several Indian soldiers were killed. India said it took this decision to protect its sovereignty.
US President Donald Trump also banned TikTok in the same year, accusing it of spying for China. On Thursday, March 16, Britain announced a ban on TikTok in government offices.
Cabinet minister Oliver Dowden said after an examination by UK cyber security experts it was “clear that this could pose a risk to sensitive government data as it can be accessed using certain platforms”.
US President Joe Biden has also said that TikTok will be banned if it does not separate itself from the company it owns, ByteDance. ByteDance denies handing over any data to Chinese authorities.
China called Britain’s decision to ban TikTok political. In response to the British decision, the Chinese Embassy in London said that the decision to ban the use of Tik Tok in official phones in the UK is contrary to the facts.
According to the Chinese Embassy, the decision interferes with the normal operations of the relevant companies in the UK and such a decision will harm the interests of the UK itself.
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