Australian Government Considering A TikTok Ban On Government Phones

the parliament house

What This Means For Government Staff That Use TikTok

The Australian government is considering a ban on TikTok, following the lead of the US, UK, and New Zealand. Ministers are reportedly using burner phones to access the app, raising concerns that Chinese officials could access sensitive data. Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neill is expected to announce a ban on the use of TikTok on government devices. However, Beijing has historically criticized western governments for such bans, claiming they are an overreaction.

Cybersecurity expert Susan McLean emphasized that the app is not safe to use and urged politicians to use more secure platforms. New Zealand recently implemented a similar ban on government phones. The concerns stem from fears that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, could share user data with the Chinese government or promote propaganda and misinformation. The company denies such allegations and is taking steps to enhance user data protection.

Bill Shorten insisted that “no formal ban” had been put into place as of yet, however, he did state he has personally removed TikTok from his government-issued phone.  Cyber security expert Susan Mclean said the app was simply ‘not safe to use’.

Susan Mclean:

“Politicians really need to step up to the plate and start to use more legitimate, if you like, platforms where the security of the nation is not going to be compromised by their use,” she told Today.

Mclean stated that the company, being based in china, was “beholden” to the Chinese government.

Other Countries Are Starting To Follow Suit

Susan went on to say:

Susan Mclean:

“If you need to go to the degree of having a burner phone to use Tiktok, that should ring alarm bells with you and I am concerned that it doesn’t,” 

New Zealand just became the latest nation to initiate such a restriction for government phones earlier this month. There have been growing concerns that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance would give user data such as browsing history and location to the Chinese government. Not only this, concerns were raised about ByteDance potentially pushing propaganda and misinformation. Because of these reasons, the ban was prompted. ByteDance has released a statement clearing themselves of these rumors. ByteDance went on to say:

ByteDance:

“We believe these bans have been based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics, in which TikTok and our millions of users in the UK, play no part,” the company said.

McLean said the company was good at “propaganda” but did not “walk the walk” when it came to data protection. ByteDance has made it clear they have not engaged in any wrongdoing, but governments all around the world are now starting to consider the safety risk of the app on their government devices.

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