New Zealand legislators banned from TikTok over data misuse fears

New Zealand lawmakers and other workers inside the nation’s Parliament will be banned from having the TikTok app on their government phones, officials said Friday.

WELLINGTON (New Zealand) — Officials announced Friday that New Zealand legislators and other members of the nation’s Parliament will no longer be allowed to use the TikTok app from their government phones.

This ban takes effect at the close of the month and follows similar moves in many countries.

The ban on New Zealand will only apply to approximately 500 people within the Parliament Complex, and not all government workers as in the U.S. or Britain. Other New Zealand agencies may decide to impose their bans later.

After warnings from the FBI , other agencies and the FBI that TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance could potentially share TikTok user information — such as browsing history and location — with China’s authoritarian government, global concern over the app is growing.

Chris Hipkins, the New Zealand Prime Minister, stated that he did not have TikTok installed on his phone.

He said to reporters, “I’m not so hip and trendy.”

Rafael Gonzalez-Montero, Chief Executive of Parliamentary Service, stated that the New Zealand move was based on advice from cybersecurity experts.

The app will be removed from all devices that have access to the parliamentary network. However, officials can make special arrangements to allow anyone who needs TikTok to fulfill their democratic duties.

Gonzalez-Montero stated that the decision was based on an analysis by our experts and after discussion with colleagues from across government and international. “Based on these information, the service determined that the risks in the current New Zealand parliament environment are unacceptable.”

Hipkins stated that cybersecurity advice was provided by New Zealand’s intelligence agency, Government Communications Security Bureau. Hipkins stated that New Zealand doesn’t have a uniform approach to government workers and that it was up to each agency or department to make cybersecurity decisions.

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