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TikTok is banned in New Zealand on parliamentarians' phones

TikTok has been banned from parliamentary devices in New Zealand, following the UK government's stringent move against the short video app. The decision was made in response to rising security worries about ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, giving user data to the Chinese government.

By the end of March, the app will be blocked on any device with access to the network of the parliament, according to the country's authorities, who cited cybersecurity concerns.
The government is making an exemption, though, for anyone who might require the app to "perform their democratic duties". What that may signify was not made clear.

Rafael Gonzalez-Montero, the Parliamentary Service Chief Executive, told Reuters via email that the government made its choice after conferring with international authorities and cybersecurity specialists.

According to the TikTok app, it has written to the New Zealand Parliamentary Service to request an explanation and to resolve any concerns with them.



TikTok has been prohibited from official devices in a large number of countries, including New Zealand. The US House of Representatives banned the app from all staff members' and legislators' smartphones in December. By outlawing the app, other nations including Canada and Belgium have also joined the fight. The European Union mandated that its employees uninstall TikTok from their smartphones a month ago.

Although restrictions from different government platforms may bother TikTok, its owner in China may be more concerned about an impending US embargo. According to reports, a ban would be imposed unless ByteDance severed its links with TikTok and sold the app.

TikTok has made several attempts to persuade the American (and other governments) that China is unable to access any user data. It has been subject to an Oracle audit, and it has invited the media and regulators to visit its recently built Transparency Center so they can see the app's moderation policies. In an effort to win over the authorities, the firm has spent close to $1.5 billion on the charm offensive operation.

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