Australia bans TikTok on official devices: Attorney-General confirms

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Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has confirmed the Australian Government will ban TikTok on devices issued by Commonwealth departments and agencies.
The TikTok logo is seen in this photo illustration on 31 March, 2023 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Attorney-General confirmed the ban in a statement on Tuesday, saying exemptions will only be granted on a case-by-case basis and with appropriate security mitigations in place.

“After receiving advice from intelligence and security agencies, today I authorised 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,” the Attorney-General said in a statement.

“The Government has recently received the Review into Foreign Interference through Social Media Applications and its recommendations remain under consideration.”

TikTok Australia’s general manager Lee Hunter told the ABC ahead of the ban that the Australian government’s decision was “driven by poilitics and not by fact”. Hunter said TikTok would like to meet with Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil – and anyone in government – to explain “the truth of the platform”.

“We know we have to work harder than other platforms because of the scrutiny we get,” Hunter said.

Nations around the world act on TikTok

The move comes just weeks after the United States proposed a new law to ban TikTok and other technology products that were made in countries that pose a threat to American national security interests.

The RESTRICT Act would allow the US government to “review, block and mitigate” software and hardware made by entities in adversarial nations like China, Iran, Russia and North Korea. It comes after allegations that China accessed private information from US users and planned to use TikTok to spy on certain Americans, including Forbes reporters.

India banned TikTok in June 2020, citing national security concerns after a military clash with China.

All other nations of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance (Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, Australia) have now implemented a ban on TikTok.

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