Australia Follows New Zealand in Banning TikTok on Official Devices


Australia today joined a long list of western countries in banning TikTok on official devices. By taking this decision, the Australian Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus sought advice from the country’s intelligence and security agencies.

The directive to implement this ban from the Australian authorities was issued in terms of the Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF) which cites serious security and privacy risks for non-corporate Commonwealth entities due to an extensive collection of user data and exposure to foreign government control. The government noted that in certain instances, the usage of the app may be permissible if it is for “a legitimate business reason” and on a separate “standalone device”.

ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, was recently put under pressure from the US administration, who demanded the sale of TikTok US or else face an embargo. In an attempt to try and appease the US government, ByteDance launched “Project Texas”, with CEO Shou Zi Chew testifying to the US Congress in a five hour session. Chew promised lawmakers that the data of US citizens was safe with no breach of data by the Chinese authorities.

For the moment, ByteDance will continue its day-to-day business operations, but the company must remain vigilant to ensure data transparency and satisfy the global concerns about their data handling. Ultimately their acceptance in the global tech space depends on their ability to properly address these global concerns.