Australian Government Says TikTok Won't Be Banned After Declaring There Isn't A Security Threat
The Australian government has indicated it won't be banning the wildly popular social media app TikTok.
Coalition sources said last month that it was investigating the app over concerns users' data was being fed back to China without people knowing. Some even suggested TikTok could be banned if it could be proved it posed a threat to the country's security.
However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed that they won't be going down that route.
Speaking from the Aspen Security Forum, Mr Morrison said: "There's nothing at this point that would suggest to us that security interests are being compromised, or Australian citizens are being compromised.
"We'll obviously keep watching them, but there's no evidence to suggest to us today that [a ban] is a step that is necessary."
While TikTokkers will be able to dance and parody politicians in hilarious videos for now, the Prime Minister did warn users about the app.
He said China could have the power to summon the information stored on the app.
"People need to understand where the extension cord goes back to," he told the Forum. "People should know that the line connects right back to China and they should exercise their own judgment about whether they should participate in those things or not."
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But TikTok Australia has dismissed claims that China has a hold over the information and data that is contained on each account or has requested it in the past.
Australia manager Lee Hunter said they wouldn't hand over data like that even if the request was made.
"TikTok does not share information of our users in Australia with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government, and would not do so if asked. We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity," he said.
"TikTok Australia user data is stored in Singapore, and our Chief Information Security Officer has outlined our efforts to minimise data access across regions. Similar to industry peers, we will continue to drive our goal of limiting the number of employees who have access to user data and the scenarios where data access is enabled.
"The truth is, with tensions rising between some countries, TikTok has unfortunately been caught in the middle, and is being used by some as a political football.
India has already banned TikTok from the country as tensions between them and China continue to escalate.
The Trump Administration has also indicated it will ban the app from America.
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One as he returned from Florida on the weekend, he said: "As far as TikTok is concerned, we're banning them from the United States. Well, I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order or that [emergency economic powers]."
Featured Image Credit: PA