A statement from Australian authorities says that TikTok poses ‘significant security and privacy risks’ as the US considers a full ban on the app.
Australia has become the latest country to ban TikTok on all federal devices today (4 April) amid growing security concerns.
The ban is set to come into effect “as soon as practicable” and the decision has been taken after receiving advice from intelligence and security agencies, according to a statement by attorney-general Mark Dreyfus, MP.
Exemptions are to be granted only on a case-by-case basis.
This means that all members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, which includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US, have now banned the popular Chinese-owned social media app on government devices.
“[TikTok] 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 reads.
“Entities must prevent installation and remove existing instances of the TikTok application on government devices, unless a legitimate business reason exists which necessitates the installation or ongoing presence of the application.”
Because TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, many in the West have raised concerns about its connections with the Chinese government and whether it could access user data.
The US government has already banned TikTok on all government devices, with similar moves being made in both the EU, the UK as well as neighbouring New Zealand.
But the company received a stronger ultimatum from the US, with the threat of a full ban if parent ByteDance doesn’t sell its shares in the US version of the app.
A TikTok spokesperson told SiliconRepublic.com last month that a change in ownership isn’t a security solution as it “would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access”.
Less than two weeks ago, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was grilled by a bipartisan committee over a five-hour period on the social media giant’s practices while the US, which is home to 150m TikTok users, considers whether it should ban the app.
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