TikTok banned on government devices in New Zealand: report

The New York Times reported that the latest western country to ban the use of Chinese-owned video-sharing platform TikTok on “government equipment” citing security concerns, joins the US, UK and New Zealand.

Britain announced a ban on Thursday Tik Tok Effective immediately, citing concerns that the video-sharing app is owned by a Chinese company.

Speaking in parliament, Lancaster Minister Oliver Dowden said the ban was “precautionary”, despite similar measures already being taken by the US, the EU’s executive arm, Canada and India.

According to The New York Times, Dowden said social media apps collect and store vast amounts of user data, including contacts, user content and geolocation data on government devices, which can be sensitive.

In the wake of COVID-19, TikTok has drawn more skepticism than most for its Chinese owner byte beating.

The U.K. action reflects concerns expressed by several Western governments that TikTok may share sensitive data from devices used by politicians and senior officials with the Beijing government.

The ban was announced on Thursday after the UK announced a tightened policy. On Monday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described China as an “epochal challenge” to the international order.

According to the New York Times, the new directive applies only to official work calls of government officials, which Dowden described as an appropriate way to address potential vulnerabilities in government data.

In a statement on Thursday, TikTok expressed disappointment with the British government’s decision, saying the ban imposed on it was “based on fundamental misunderstandings and driven by broader geopolitics”. It added that it was taking steps to protect the data of UK users.

Several U.K. government departments have used TikTok accounts as part of their public campaigns, including the country’s Ministry of Defence, a day after Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said the app was critical for the U.K. It is safe for humans to use.

“As far as the general public is concerned, this is absolutely a personal choice, but because we have the strongest data protection laws in the world, we are confident that the public can continue to use it,” she told lawmakers in parliament.

TikTok acknowledged late on Wednesday that the United States had earlier threatened to ban TikTok from the country unless the app’s Chinese owners agreed to spin off their share of the social media platform.

Responding to the news, TikTok CEO Shouzi Zhou said that spinning off the company from its Chinese owners — a move the U.S. is now demanding — doesn’t offer more than the billions the company has already offered. More conservation is planned, Wall Street Journal reports.

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