The TikTok application on a smartphone in Taipei, Taiwan, 06 December 2022. EFE-EPA FILE/RITCHIE B. TONGO

Australia bans TikTok from government devices

Sydney, Australia, Apr 4 (EFE).- Australia has banned the Chinese social media app TikTok from government devices, the country’s attorney general announced Tuesday, following similar decisions of Western allies over concerns of foreign interference and national security.

The TikTok application on a smartphone in Taipei, Taiwan, 06 December 2022. EFE-EPA FILE/RITCHIE B. TONGO

“After receiving advice from intelligence and security agencies, today I authorized the Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department to issue a mandatory direction under the Protective Security Policy Framework to prohibit the TikTok app on devices issued by Commonwealth departments and agencies. The direction will come into effect as soon as practicable,” Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said in a statement.

A light show is projected onto the Australian Parliament House during the Enlighten Canberra festival in Canberra, Australia, 04 March 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/LUKAS COCH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

Exemptions to the installation of TikTok on devices will only be given on a “case-by-case basis and with appropriate security mitigations in place.”

Australia is the last country in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance to block the app, following the decisions of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

TikTok, which was launched in September 2016 by Chinese company ByteDance for the sharing of short videos, has denied its app poses national security risks.

Canberra is trying to normalize the tense relations it’s had with Beijing since 2018 as a result of the previous conservative government banning Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE from Australia’s 5G network.

The Oceanian country also maintains strict laws and security measures against foreign interference, with a spotlight on Beijing under suspicion that the Asian giant is trying to influence its domestic policy.

In February, the Australian government announced it would remove from its federal buildings almost 1,000 security cameras manufactured by the Chinese companies Hikvision and Dahua, linked to the Chinese Communist Party, due to security risks. EFE