Australia bans TikTok on government devices over security concerns

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(VOVWORLD) -  Australia banned TikTok on Tuesday from all federal government-owned devices over security concerns, becoming the latest US-allied country to take action against the Chinese-owned video app.

Australia bans TikTok on government devices over security concerns - ảnh 1(Photo: AFP/VNA)

The ban underscores growing worries that China could use the Beijing-based company, owned by ByteDance Ltd, to harvest users' data to advance its political agenda, undermining Western security interests.

It also risks renewing diplomatic tension between Australia and its largest trading partner after things eased somewhat since Prime Minister Anthony Albanese took office in May at the head of a Labor government.

TikTok said it was extremely disappointed by Australia's decision, calling it "driven by politics, not by fact".

With Australia's ban, all members of the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network - which consists of Australia, Canada, the United States, Britain and New Zealand - have banned the app from government devices. France, Belgium and the European Commission have announced similar bans.

Britain's data watchdog said on Tuesday it had fined TikTok 12.7 million pounds ($15.9 million) for breaching data protection law including by using the personal data of children aged under 13 without parental consent.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) estimated that TikTok allowed as many as 1.4 million UK children under 13 to use its platform in 2020, even though it sets 13 as the minimum age to create an account.

The ICO said the data breaches occurred between May 2018 and July 2020, with the Chinese-owned video app not having done enough to check who was using the platform and remove the underage children who were.