TikTok: why will New Zealand ban its use on official phones?

New Zealand joined the list of countries that have banned the use of the popular application TikTok for reasons of cybersecurity in political activity. In this sense, from March 31, the app owned by the Chinese company Bytedance will be banned from all devices connected to the Parliament’s network, located at the Wellington headquarters.

According to the executive director of the Parliamentary Service, Rafael Gonzalez-Montero, this decision was made based on the analysis of New Zealand experts who consulted with government and international officials, who consider that “the risks of maintaining the video-sharing application are not acceptable”.

“Following the advice of our cybersecurity experts, the Parliamentary Service has informed members and staff that the TikTok application will be removed from all devices with access to the parliamentary network,” said the New Zealand Parliament official, who shares concern about the dangers of using the app, which could become sources of manipulation or espionage by the Xi Jinping government.

This initiative materializes after the decision of the Government of the United Kingdom. This prohibited the use of TikTok on official devices following the same line of measures previously adopted by the United States, Canada, the European Commission and other places that we review below.

Which countries have already banned TikTok?

United Kingdom: On Thursday, March 16, the authorities of that country announced the ban on the application of videos on the phones of ministers and public officials, due to cyber security reasons.

USA: On February 27, the US government gave a period of 30 days for federal agencies to eliminate said application on all cell phones of officials. Recall that Congress had already restricted the use of TikTok following concerns that China is using users’ personal data as location information.

European Union: In order to protect the data of the European Commission and its cybersecurity, it was decided to suspend the use of TikTok on electronic and personal devices registered with this body from March 15. Otherwise, your employees will not be able to access email, Skype for business and other digital tools.

Canada: On February 27, the ban on TikTok on government-owned mobile devices began, alleging that there is “an unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security.”

Taiwan: In December last year, a ban was imposed on the use of TikTok in the public sector after the FBI warned that the application posed a risk to national security.

India: In 2020, the country banned the use of Tik Tok and other Chinese applications for privacy and security reasons, shortly after the confrontation between Indian and Chinese troops in a border area in the Himalayas.