New Zealand is banning TikTok on parliament-linked devices over security concerns

WELLINGTON, March 17 (Reuters) – New Zealand said on Friday it would ban TikTok on devices accessing the country’s parliamentary network over cybersecurity concerns, becoming the latest country to ban use of the app for sharing emails. would restrict videos on government-related devices.

There has been global concern over the potential for the Chinese government to access users’ location and contact information through ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company.

The depth of those concerns was underlined this week when the Biden administration demanded that TikTok’s Chinese owners divest their stake or the app could face a US ban.

In New Zealand, TikTok will be banned from all devices with access to parliament’s network by the end of March.

Rafael Gonzalez-Montero, head of the parliamentary service, said in an email to Reuters that the decision was taken after advice from cybersecurity experts and discussions within the government and with other countries.

“Based on this information, the agency has determined that the risks are not acceptable in the current New Zealand parliamentary environment,” he said.

Special arrangements could be made for those who need the app to do their jobs, he added.

ByteDance did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said at a press briefing that New Zealand operated differently from other countries.

“Departments and agencies are following the advice of the (Government Communications Security Bureau) on IT and cybersecurity policies…we don’t have a blanket on the public sector’s approach,” Hipkins said.

Both the New Zealand Defense Force and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Friday they had already introduced a ban on TikTok on work devices.

A spokesman for the New Zealand Defense Force said in an email to Reuters that the move was a “precautionary measure to protect the safety and security” of personnel.

On Thursday, Britain banned the app from government phones with immediate effect. US government agencies have until the end of March to remove the app from official devices.

TikTok has said it believes the recent bans are based on “fundamental misconceptions” and are driven by broader geopolitics, adding that it has spent more than $1.5 billion on rigorous data security efforts and accusations of espionage rejects.

Reporting by Lucy Craymer in Wellington, Lewis Jackson and Renju Jose in Sydney and Josh Ye in Hong Kong; Adaptation by Anne Marie Roantree, Muralikumar Anantharaman, Edwina Gibbs and Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

Leave a Comment