New Zealand lawmakers and other workers within the nation’s Parliament will be banned from having the TikTok app on their government phones.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand– New Zealand lawmakers and other workers within the nation’s parliament will be banned from having the TikTok app on their government phones, officials said on Friday.
The ban, which takes effect at the end of the month, follows similar measures in many other countries.
However, the New Zealand ban will apply to only about 500 people in the parliamentary complex, not all government workers like the bans in the US and Britain. Other New Zealand agencies could later decide to impose their own bans.
Global concern over the app comes after warnings from the FBI and other agencies that TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance could share TikTok user data such as browsing history, location and biometric identifiers, with the authoritarian government of China.
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said he did not have TikTok on his phone.
“I’m not that trendy or trendy,” he told reporters.
New Zealand’s move came on the advice of government cybersecurity experts, Parliamentary Service chief executive Rafael González-Montero said.
He said the app would be removed from all devices with access to the parliamentary network, though officials could make special arrangements for anyone who needed TikTok to carry out their democratic duties.
“This decision was made based on analysis by our own experts and after discussion with our colleagues across the government and internationally,” González-Montero said in a statement. “Based on this information, the service has determined that the risks are not acceptable in the current New Zealand parliamentary environment.”
Hipkins said the cyber security tips came from New Zealand’s intelligence agency, the Government Communications Security Office. He said New Zealand did not take a blanket approach for all government workers, and it would be up to individual departments or agencies to make cybersecurity decisions.