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Australia bans TikTok on official devices after New Zealand.

The logo of Chinese-owned video app TikTok is seen on a smartphone in front of an image of the Australian national flag in this illustration picture taken April 4, 2023. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/Illustration

Today, Australia banned TikTok on official devices. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said the ban will take effect “as soon as practical.”

Dreyfus announced the decision “after obtaining recommendations from intelligence and security authorities.”

Australia also updated its Preventive Security Policy Framework (PSPF) because TikTok’s data-gathering activities constitute a security risk.

“TikTok poses serious security and privacy concerns to non-corporate Commonwealth entities deriving from a large collection of user data and exposure to extrajudicial orders from a foreign government that clashes with Australian law,” the directive added.

The authorities will allow the brief video app for “legitimate business reasons” on a “standalone device.”

Australia, New Zealand, the US, the UK, and Canada have all banned TikTok on government devices, as has Australia. The EU and Belgium have also banned the ByteDance-owned software on police smartphones.

TikTok condemned the Australian government’s politically driven action.

We are really upset by this political choice. We are also concerned that TikTok and the millions of Australians who use it were left to hear about this decision through the media, despite our repeated efforts to actively engage with the government about this policy.”

Again, TikTok poses no security concern to Australians and should not be handled differently from other social media sites. “Our millions of Australian customers deserve a government that takes decisions based on facts and treats all businesses fairly, regardless of nation of origin,” said Lee Hunter, General Manager, TikTok Australia, and New Zealand.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew gave a five-hour congressional testimony last month. Chew assured legislators that Chinese officials don’t have access to U.S. users’ data in the session.

He declared, “ByteDance is not an agency of China or any other country.”

ByteDance must sell TikTok US or be embargoed by the Biden administration. Under “Project Texas,” TikTok is spending $1.5 billion to reassure U.S. authorities about data openness.

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