NZ MPs warned against using TikTok citing high data security risk

NZ MPs warned against using TikTok citing high data security risk

by Pranali Mehta

New Zealand MPs have been reportedly warned against using the short-video sharing app, TikTok, over concerns of their data being accessed by the app’s owner, ByteDance, and the Chinese government.

Speaker Trevor Mallard issued a reminder to party whips last week that MPs should not use the video app on their Parliamentary Service devices.

The move comes after experts warned that the social platform is collecting huge amounts of personal data from users.

The directive has cautioned that TikTok could pose a security risk, wherein the data saved on devices could be accessed by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, as well as the Chinese Government.

American and Australian lawmakers have recently raised concerns over the app, which has over a million users in New Zealand and around one billion active users worldwide.

In June, it was reported that Chinese employees of ByteDance were able to repeatedly access the non-public data of U.S. based users, which prompted senators to write to executives at TikTok and urge Apple and Google to remove the app from their app stores.

The Chinese company has acknowledged that its employees can access users’ data, but claims of having strong authorization approval protocols and cyber-security controls in place as well.

Kiwi MPs have been allowed to use TikTok but only on their personal devices.

Parliamentary Service, an entity that provides support and administrative services to MPs, has recommended that those who have the app installed on their official phones should ensure that they are comfortable with the permissions granted and not allow the app to access their location and not link any other social media account with it.

It has also been recommended that the app should be updated to the latest available version and different passwords should be used for different apps.

Back in 2020, similar advice was issued where popular video chat app, Houseparty, was prohibited for MPs, government officials, and diplomats over security concerns.

A GCSB spokesperson stated that agency advises people to be cautious of sharing personal information when using any app and keep the privacy settings in check an also keep a track of any other information that the app seeks permission for using.

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Pranali Mehta

A chemical engineer by qualification, Pranali Mehta dutifully walked down the slated path and worked in a chemical firm for a year. Her passion for writing however, pushed her into experimenting with the same as a career. With over three years of experience in content writ Read more...