The New Zealand government issued a memo to its members of parliament this week warning them not to use TikTok on their official parliamentary phones for fear that their data could be shared with the Chinese government.
The memo, which was first reported on by Stuff, warned MPs that using the app on their phones “could pose a security risk where data on your devices could be accessed by ByteDance (the owner of TikTok) and the Chinese Government.” The memo referenced a June article published by BuzzFeed that revealed some user data from the United States had been accessed overseas.
The BuzzFeed article points out TikTok has taken some precautions to avoid data breaches by the Chinese government. “TikTok has said in blog posts and public statements that it physically stores all data about its US users in the US, with backups in Singapore,” the article reads. “This does mitigate some risks — the company says this data is not subject to Chinese law — but it does not address the fact that China-based employees can access the data, experts say.”
TikTok has been the target of warnings issued to New Zealand lawmakers before. In 2020, the New Zealand government issued a suggestion to all members of parliament to delete the app due to security concerns. At about the same time, then-US president Donald Trump had begun hinting at coming down on the app for data sharing.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said in the past she is “always mindful” of the security risks when posting on social media.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEWSHUB.COM
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