New Zealand lawmakers banned from using TikTok amid data usage concerns

New Zealand lawmakers banned from using TikTok amid data usage concerns

An icon for the video-sharing app TikTok is seen on a smartphone, Tuesday, February 28, 2023, in Marple Town, Pa. New Zealand lawmakers and other staff members of the nation’s Parliament will be banned from using the TikTok app on their government phones, officials said Friday, March 17, 2023. Credit : AP Photo / Matt Slocum, Profile

New Zealand lawmakers and other people who work in the nation’s Parliament will be barred from installing the TikTok app on their government phones, officials said Friday.

The ban took effect at the end of the month following similar moves in many other countries.

However, New Zealand’s ban will only apply to about 500 people in the parliament complex, not all. government workers like the bans in the US and UK. Other New Zealand bodies may later decide to impose their own bans.

The global concern about the app comes after warnings from the FBI and other agencies that TikTok’s parent company in China, ByteDance, may share TikTok user data — such as browsing history, location, intelligence and biometric identifiers — with China’s authoritarian government.

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said he doesn’t have TikTok on his phone.

“I’m not that stylish and trendy,” he told reporters.

Parliamentary Services executive director Rafael Gonzalez-Montero said New Zealand’s move was made on the advice of government cybersecurity experts.

He said the app would be removed from all devices with access to the congressional network, although officials could make special arrangements for anyone who needs TikTok to fulfill its democratic obligations. Surname.

“This decision was made based on the analysis of our experts and after discussion with our colleagues in government and internationally,” Gonzalez-Montero said in a statement. “Based on this informationservice has determined that the risks are unacceptable in the current New Zealand parliamentary environment.”

Hipkins said the cybersecurity advice came from New Zealand’s intelligence agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau. He said New Zealand does not take an all-encompassing approach government Workerand cybersecurity decisions will be up to each ministry or agency.

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