New Zealand became the latest nation to prohibit TikTok on government-related devices on Friday because of cybersecurity concerns.
TikTok’s Chinese parent business, ByteDance, has raised worldwide concerns about the Chinese government accessing users’ location and contact data.
Last week, the Biden administration urged that TikTok’s Chinese owners divest or face a U.S. ban, highlighting such worries.
By March, TikTok will be banned on all parliament-connected devices in New Zealand.
Parliamentary Service Chief Executive Rafael Gonzalez-Montero emailed Reuters that cybersecurity specialists and government and international debates influenced the decision.
“Based on this information, the Service has judged that the risks are not acceptable in the present New Zealand Parliamentary context,” he added.
He noted that workers who need the app could make special arrangements.
Reuters did not hear back from ByteDance.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins claimed New Zealand was unique at a media briefing.
Hipkins said departments and agencies obey the Government Communications Security Bureau’s IT and cybersecurity rules.
Friday saw New Zealand’s military force and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade ban TikTok on work devices.
In an email to Reuters, a New Zealand Defence Force official called the measure “precautionary to preserve the safety and security” of soldiers.
Britain immediately banned the app on government phones on Thursday. U.S. government entities must remove the software from official devices by March 31.
TikTok has invested over $1.5 billion in data protection and denies eavesdropping claims, saying the current restrictions are based on “basic misunderstandings” and geopolitics.
At a Friday press briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Wang Wenbin said Britain and New Zealand should “avoid over-extending and misusing the idea of national security, and provide a fair and non-discriminatory environment to firms from all countries.”