New Zealand is going to ban the use of the video app TikTok on the network of the national parliament, for fear of leaking sensitive information to the Chinese government. TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.
The ban follows similar measures in other Western countries: yesterday the British government banned the app for ministers and government officials, the US and the EU, among others, have already taken such measures. The fear is that the Chinese government will gain access to contact details and location of the users via the app. The ban in New Zealand will take effect at the end of this month.
According to Rafael Gonzalez-Montero, the director who heads the bureaucratic organization of parliament, the ban on consultation with other governments and cyber security experts follows. “It showed that the risks of the app are not acceptable in the environment of the New Zealand parliament.” An exception can be made for those who really need the app for their work, he says.
Complete ban in US
Yesterday, the US government already warned that TikTok will be completely banned in the US if the Chinese ByteDance does not sell the platform. TikTok is also a topic of discussion in the Netherlands. Last month it appeared that a majority of the House of Representatives wants to ban the popular app. With this, the app would disappear from the work phones and other equipment of about 140,000 government officials.
TikTok has not yet commented on the ban in New Zealand, but said earlier about measures in other countries that they are “based on fundamental misunderstandings about the app, and motivated by geopolitical considerations”. The company denies espionage charges against the Chinese government, and says it has already spent more than $1.5 billion on measures to secure users’ data.