New Zealand MPs warned against using TikTok, citing security risks

New DelhiEdited By: Abhinav SinghUpdated: Aug 02, 2022, 01:17 PM IST
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New Zealand MPs have been told not to use TikTok on their work phones due to security concerns Photograph:(AFP)

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The directive was issued last week via the Parliamentary Service where the MPs were told that TikTok could pose a security risk to the lawmakers and their data. 

ByteDance-owned TikTok is now facing a backlash in New Zealand. Reportedly, the Kiwi lawmakers have been warned by House speaker Trevor Mallard to not use the TikTok app on their parliamentary phones and devices as it poses a security risk.

Reportedly, the directive was issued last week via the Parliamentary Service where the MPs were told that TikTok "could pose a security risk where data on your devices could be accessed by ByteDance (the owner of TikTok) and the Chinese Government."

While the Parliamentary Service strongly recommended that lawmakers delete the app, it also issued cautionary advice to those looking to keep it on their phones. 

"Make sure you are comfortable with the permissions you have granted and remove its [TikTok] ability to access your location." read the cautionary advice. 

Only a tiny percentage of Kiwi lawmakers have an official presence on the app but given its popularity, many will be tempted to use the short-video platform for their political campaigns in the future.

Over one million Kiwis use the app and thus, if not issued a directive early on, the app and its data harvesting policies could have serious ramifications. 

It is pertinent to note that a 2017 Chinese intelligence law compels a company based in China to give any information to the government as it requires. TikTok is based in China and thus the aspersions around its data practices. 

TikTok and its wild popularity amongst the masses quickly brought it under the public microscope. Soon, several studies revealed that TikTok often compromised the user's data by harvesting it and also sharing it with the Communist Party of China (CCP) - a claim denied vehemently by ByteDance. 

However, in 2020, Donald Trump, the then US President banned the app citing security concerns and its closeness with the Politburo officials.

Moreover, Trump had attempted to tie down TikTok to US tech major Oracle so that the users data could stay in the country. However, before Trump could enact his policies, he lost the election to Democrat Joe Biden who reversed his decision. 

Similarly, India brought down the sledgehammer and booted the company out of the country. While TikTok made a comeback in the US, it is still banned in India, one of the most lucrative internet markets across the planet. 

(With inputs from agencies)