NSW government considers banning TikTok on all public sector devices | New South Wales politics

THE New South Wales The government is considering banning public sector employees from using TikTok on work devices, engaging federal cybersecurity agencies for advice amid concerns about the social video app’s links to China.

As the Federal Government considers the security of the app, the NSW Electoral Commission has confirmed the software – including ICT Tac – is not allowed to be downloaded on professional mobile phones without prior authorization.

The state government does not yet have a comprehensive policy for downloading and using the app on departmental devices, but Guardian Australia understands this is under review.

Currently, NSW departments and agencies are allowed to decide their own course of action.

Almost half of all federal agencies have reportedly banned the app on government-owned devices in recent monthswhich has been criticized by the federal opposition for its lack of a consistent and comprehensive response to the use of the app.

The Home Affairs Department will this month finalize a review for Minister Clare O’Neil of the security risks of all social media platforms and appropriate government settings.

While privacy and data security are a concern for all social media apps, the concern with TikTok and the China-based WeChat app has been how data might be accessed under China’s privacy law. national security.

THE British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak this week told Britain could follow the United States and Canada in banning the app from government devices, saying it would take “all necessary measures” to protect security.

The New South Wales government has started talks with the Australian Signals Directorate’s Australian Cybersecurity Center about the app, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance.

“The NSW Government is aware of this issue and is currently working with the ACSC,” a government spokesperson said.

“The NSW Government does not have an overarching policy banning TikTok from government devices. Each agency has social media guidelines and procedures in place to govern how social media applications are used on work-issued devices.

The state’s own agency – Cyber ​​Security NSW – has advised all users to consider security and privacy when downloading an app to a corporate device.

“Cyber ​​Security NSW is continuously reviewing guidance and developing products for NSW government entities on workplace systems and applications,” the spokesperson said.

“Cyber ​​Security NSW will maintain a vigilant approach to cybersecurity.”

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The NSW Electoral Commission did not provide “detailed public comment” on its cybersecurity plans, but senior staff were banned from downloading the app without explicit approval.

The agency works with Cyber ​​Security NSW, the Commonwealth Election Integrity Assurance Task Force and the ACSC.

NSW Labor digital spokeswoman Yasmin Catley said the Coalition had “failed” to deliver a comprehensive policy and pledged to fix it if Labor forms government in a fortnight.

‘A future NSW Labor government will work with our federal government counterparts to address any specific concerns,’ she said.

Associate Professor of National Security at the University of Canberra, Dr Michael Jensen, believed the federal review would likely lead to a ban on government devices in Commonwealth departments, with some exceptions, and states likely to follow.

“I think they will generally look to what’s happening nationally,” he said.

TikTok Australia chief executive Lee Hunter said TikTok was not a Chinese company, insisting it was a “global” entity that stored Australian user data in Singapore and the United States. UNITED STATES.

“The Chinese government cannot compel another sovereign nation to provide data stored in that nation’s territory,” he said.

“We have, and will continue to proactively engage with governments at all levels in areas of common interest, and we are always available to answer any questions they may have.”

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