New Zealand is now the latest country to ban the popular video-sharing app from government-related phones to protect sensitive information.
New Zealand on Friday banned the short-video sharing app TikTok from devices with access to the country's parliamentary network, citing cybersecurity concerns. The island nation is the latest among several Western countries to ban the app from lawmakers' phones.
The ban will come into effect on March 31.
Parliamentary Service Chief Executive Rafael Gonzalez-Montero said the risks related to the app were "not acceptable" in the current environment.
"This decision has been made based on our own experts' analysis and following discussion with our colleagues across government and internationally," he said.
TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has already been banned on government-issued devices in Canada, Australia, Britain and the US because of concerns that ByteDance shares sensitive user data with the Chinese government. The UK banned it on government-related device less than 24 hours ago. The European Commission has also instructed employees to remove TikTok from their phones. US President Joe Biden has even threatened a complete ban of the app unless it separates from its parent company.
Global action against the popular video-sharing app started in India in 2020 when the government banned TikTok as well as over 100 other apps for the entire nation following clashes with China at the border. New Delhi maintained that the ban was to protect the nation's sovereignty and in the interest of national security. Soon after, then-US President Donald Trump called the app out for spying on behalf of the Chinese government.
While TikTok has admitted that its employees in China can access details of foreign accounts, it has denied ever turning over data to the government. It blames fundamental misconceptions and wider geopolitics for the regulators banning the app, stressing the $1.5 billion it has spent on security efforts.
Gonzalez said special arrangements will be made for lawmakers who need the app to perform their duties and that the platform can still be accessed via browsers.