Australia: TikTok banned on government devices

Similar decisions have already been taken by Canada, the European Union or New Zealand. JOHN SIBLEY / REUTERS

This decision, taken on the advice of the Australian intelligence services, joins that of many countries.

Australia announced on Tuesday that it would ban members of its government from using the Chinese app TikTok on their work devices, joining a series of similar rulings in Western countries over security fears.

This decision was made on the advice of Australian intelligence services, and will be put into practice.” as soon as possible said Justice Minister Mark Dreyfus. Australia is the last country in the alliance known as the ” Five Eyes to ban TikTok to members of its government, after the United States, Great Britain, Canada and New Zealand.

China said on Tuesday it had formally protested to Australia. ” We call on the Australian side to sincerely abide by the rules of market economy and the principles of fair competition, and provide Chinese enterprises with a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment. Mao Ning, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, said at a regular press conference.

Similar measures have been taken in France, the Netherlands and within the European Commission. Mark Dreyfus said waivers could be granted to the “ case by case » and with « appropriate security measures “. Studies have estimated that seven million Australians use the app, around a quarter of the population. In a security advisory related to the ban, the Department of Justice claims that TikTok features ” significant security and privacy risks ” due to ” massive collection of user data “.

These bans are ‘rooted in xenophobia’

For Fergus Ryan, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, this measure is a ” evidence “. ” It has been clear for years that the personal data of TikTok users is accessible in China “, he told AFP. Fergus Ryan added that Beijing “ would likely perceive this as unfair treatment and discrimination against a Chinese company “.

At the center of fears is a 2017 Chinese law that requires local companies to hand over personal data that would be relevant to national security upon request from the authorities. Beijing maintains that this law poses no threat to ordinary users. The Chinese government ” has never asked or will ask any company or individual to collect or hand over data from abroad in a way that would violate local laws “, assured in March a spokesperson for Chinese diplomacy, Mao Ning.

TikTok says these bans are “ rooted in xenophobia claiming not to belong to or depend on the Chinese state. The company’s Australian spokesperson, Lee Hunter, said TikTok would only communicate ” Never of data to the Chinese government. ” No one works harder to make sure this is never possible “, he declared to the Australian chain Channel Seven.

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