Australia is expected to “BAN TikTok on all government devices” over fears China is using the platform to spy on the West.
- Australia prepares to ban TikTok on government devices
- The US, UK and New Zealand already have such a ban
- Fears app is used by China to collect user data
Australia is set to ban the popular video-sharing platform TikTok from all government devices for fear that Beijing will use the popular Chinese app to spy on users.
The move would follow similar bans in the US, UK and New Zealand on government-issued devices, and several Australian government departments have already instructed staff not to download TikTok on work devices.
Home Secretary Clare O’Neil is expected to announce the ban after receiving a security report on TikTok that she instigated last year amid widespread concern that the app was collecting sensitive user data and sending it. to China.
Ms O’Neil is expected to advise politicians to remove TikTik from their personal devices, although it is unclear to what extent this advice will apply more broadly to government ranks.
States and territories are waiting for a Commonwealth initiative to decide their policies on the controversial platform, according to a report published in the aussie.
Home Secretary Clare O’Neil has been given a security review she ordered on TikTok over spying fears
Chinese video-sharing app TikTok could be banned from all Australian government devices over fears Beijing could use it for spying
Owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, TikTok has around 1 billion active users worldwide but has faced accusations that it fuels pro-Beijing propaganda.
Australian online security company Internet 2.0 reported last July that it had cracked the source code of the app, which has been downloaded by more than 7.5 million Australians.
Internet 2.0 CEO Robert Potter accused ByteDance of hiding the unusually high number of trackers in the source code and the amount of captured data being sent to China.
“Your source code is at odds with your public statements about how your app works,” he told the Nine network.
Potter said the Beijing-backed app leverages smartphone calendars, contact list and scans the device’s ID and hard drive to monitor all other apps that have been installed.
TikTok also checks the device’s location at least once an hour and will persist in searching for contact data even if permission is denied, according to the report.
Potter said his team had identified that on Apple smartphones the app was connecting to servers in China and they couldn’t tell what information was being sent.
“There were significant amounts of traffic flows to servers in China,” he said.
These figures released by Australian online security company Internet 2.0 show how the most popular social media and messaging platforms stacked up based on the amount of personal data they were able to obtain from users.
HOW DOES TIKTOK WORK?
- Users post videos of themselves and stream them on the app
- Anyone can find these videos and post comments on them.
- It also allows you to send a private message to that person.
- Some of the most popular videos are viewed more than 10 million times.
- Each TikTok video is usually between 15 and 60 seconds long.
- The videos usually have music, and often show the user dancing, doing a trick, or lip-syncing.
In response, TikTok claimed that all of the region’s user data is hosted in Singapore and is only accessed by a small number of people who need it to maintain the site.
“The IP address is in Singapore, the network traffic does not leave the region and it is categorically false to imply that there is communication with China,” the company said in a statement.
TikTok also said that the information it collects is in line with industry standard practices and is securely encrypted.
Potter noted that since the company is based in China, it abides by Chinese law and will be forced to hand over any information requested by the Communist Party.
“Because it is domiciled and is a Chinese company, it is first governed by Chinese law, which means it operates in a very different privacy culture,” he said.
Under Chinese law, organizations and individuals are required to “support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work.”
TikTok has stated that its employees would never share information with the Chinese government and have never been asked to do so.
China is a world leader in data collection, artificial intelligence and facial recognition software.
The US Senate has been holding hearings on TikTok and has heard the sobering news that a third of Americans rely on it for their daily dose of news.
The US Congress is considering a bill that gives the federal government broader powers to regulate and ban foreign-linked technology, such as TikTok, that is considered a threat to national security.