New Zealand to ban TikTok on devices linked to Parliament

In late March 2021, New Zealand announced a ban on the use of the social media app TikTok on any devices connected to the country’s parliament due to security concerns. The decision was made following similar moves by other countries, including the United States and India, to ban the app or consider its potential security risks.

The New Zealand Parliament’s Speaker, Trevor Mallard, explained that the ban would apply to any device linked to the parliamentary network, including MPs’ smartphones and laptops. The decision was based on advice from the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), which reportedly found potential security risks associated with the app.

TikTok, owned by the Chinese tech company ByteDance, has faced criticism over its data collection practices and concerns about its ties to the Chinese government. The app has been accused of collecting and sharing user data with Chinese authorities, which has raised concerns about potential surveillance and espionage activities.

The app’s popularity among young people, who are more likely to share personal information online, has also raised concerns about potential security risks. In response to these concerns, TikTok has announced several measures to improve its security and transparency, including opening a “transparency center” in the United States to allow outside experts to review its data privacy practices.

The New Zealand government’s decision to ban TikTok follows a similar move by the United States, which has been involved in a high-profile dispute with TikTok over security concerns. In August 2020, then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning TikTok from the United States unless it was sold to an American company. The order cited concerns about the app’s data collection practices and its potential ties to the Chinese government. The ban was later blocked by a federal judge, but the issue remains unresolved.

In addition to the United States, India has also banned TikTok, along with several other Chinese apps, over security concerns. The Indian government claimed that the apps posed a threat to national security and the privacy of Indian citizens.

The decision to ban TikTok on devices linked to New Zealand’s parliament is part of a broader effort by the government to address potential security risks associated with the use of Chinese technology. In November 2020, the New Zealand government announced new restrictions on the use of Huawei equipment in its 5G network, citing concerns about potential security risks.

In conclusion, the ban on TikTok in New Zealand’s parliament highlights the growing concern among governments around the world about potential security risks associated with Chinese technology companies. While TikTok has taken steps to improve its security and transparency, the app’s ties to the Chinese government and its data collection practices continue to raise concerns among some policymakers. It remains to be seen how these issues will be resolved and whether other countries will follow New Zealand’s lead in banning TikTok from government devices.

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