WELLINGTON: New Zealand said on Friday it would ban TikTok on devices with access to the country’s parliamentary network due to cybersecurity concerns, becoming the latest nation to limit the use of the video-sharing app on government-related devices.

Concerns have mounted globally about the potential for the Chinese government to access users’ location and contact data through ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company.

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

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

Parliamentary Service Chief Executive Rafael Gonzalez-Montero said in an email to Reuters that the decision was taken after advice from cybersecurity experts and discussions within government and with other countries.

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

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

Speaking at a media briefing, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said New Zealand operated differently from other nations.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2023

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