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New Zealand Bans TikTok for Parliament Workers Over Security Risks

In a move to tighten cybersecurity measures, New Zealand lawmakers and workers inside the nation’s Parliament will be prohibited from using the TikTok app on their government-issued phones, officials announced on Friday. The ban, which will take effect at the end of this month, follows similar moves made by other countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. However, New Zealand’s ban will only apply to approximately 500 individuals in the parliamentary complex.

New Zealand Bans TikTok
New Zealand Bans TikTok

Global concerns about the app stem from warnings issued by the FBI and other agencies that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, could share user data – including browsing history, location, and biometric identifiers – with China’s authoritarian government.

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins stated that he did not have TikTok installed on his phone, jokingly saying, “I’m not that hip and trendy.” The New Zealand ban came on the advice of government cybersecurity experts, said Parliamentary Service Chief Executive Rafael Gonzalez-Montero.

The app will be removed from all devices that have access to the parliamentary network, although exceptions may be made for individuals who require TikTok to perform their democratic duties. Gonzalez-Montero said that this decision was made based on the analysis of the government’s own experts and discussions with colleagues across government and internationally.

New Zealand did not take a blanket approach to all government workers, Hipkins said, and each department or agency would be responsible for making its own cybersecurity decisions. Other New Zealand agencies may consider implementing their own bans in the future.

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