TikTok faces ban in Australia over security risks

Kerem Gülen
Apr 4, 2023

The Australian government has banned the use of TikTok on all government devices due to security concerns, following the lead of the US, Canada, Britain, and New Zealand. The decision was made after receiving advice from intelligence and security agencies, and will be imposed "as soon as practicable", according to Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus. This move has put Australia in line with its allies from the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

TikTok, the Chinese-owned video app, has come under increasing pressure over claims it presents a security concern. The European Parliament and Norway have also imposed similar restrictions, while NATO has banned its staffers from downloading the app onto NATO-provided devices. Last week, the US government threatened to ban TikTok unless its Chinese owners, Bytedance, agree to spin off their share of the social media platform. The US government is concerned that China could use its national security laws to access the significant amount of personal information that TikTok, like most social media applications, collects from its US users.

As of early 2023, Australia had over 8 million TikTok users aged 18 and over, according to the company, citing a report from DataReportal, which studies digital trends worldwide. TikTok's General Manager in Australia and New Zealand, Lee Hunter, expressed disappointment in the decision and claimed it was driven by politics. He argued that the company had repeatedly tried to engage constructively with the Australian government and that there was no evidence to suggest that the app posed a security risk to the country.

The Attorney-General's Department has issued a notice stating that TikTok poses security and privacy risks due to its "extensive collection of user data and exposure to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law." So far, there is no evidence that the Chinese government has accessed TikTok user data, and no government has enacted a broader ban targeting TikTok on personal devices.

During a high-profile congressional hearing on the matter, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was grilled about the tech firm's alleged ties to the Chinese government. Chew has denied any ties to the Chinese government and has stated that the company would refuse any request for its data. For its part, China's Commerce Ministry has said that it would "firmly oppose" any decision resulting in the forced sale of TikTok, adding that it would "seriously damage" global investors' confidence in the United States.

Australia's attorney general has said that any exemptions to the ban would be granted "on a case-by-case basis and with appropriate security mitigation in place." The government had recently received the review into foreign interference through social media applications from the country's Home Affairs Department, with its recommendations being considered, according to Dreyfus.

Australia is not the first country to ban TikTok

TikTok, like many social media platforms, collects a vast amount of user data, which can be a source of concern for governments and individuals alike. As such, it remains to be seen whether other countries will follow in the footsteps of Australia, the US, Canada, Britain, and New Zealand in imposing restrictions on the app. However, with concerns over data privacy and national security continuing to grow, it is likely that TikTok and other social media platforms will face increasing scrutiny from governments around the world.


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  1. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments (https://www.ghacks.net/chatgpt-gets-schooled-by-princeton-university/#comments). Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If ghacks.net intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this Friend.tech as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/08/23/what-is-friend-tech/] and it appears there but as well here at [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/07/08/how-to-follow-everyone-on-threads/]

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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