After UK ban, New Zealand moves to restrict TikTok on govt devices

March 17, 2023

Decision taken after advice from cyber security experts, discussions within government, says Gonzalez-Montero

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The TikTok app logo is seen in this illustration. — Reuters/File

WELLINGTON: New Zealand said it will ban TikTok on devices with access to the country's parliamentary network due to cyber security 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 the 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 cyber security experts and discussions within the 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.

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

Britain on Thursday banned the app on government phones with immediate effect. Government agencies in the US have until the end of March to delete the app from official devices.

TikTok has said it believes the recent bans are based on "fundamental misconceptions" and driven by wider geopolitics, adding that it has spent more than $1.5 billion on "rigorous data security efforts and rejects spying allegations."

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