Australia Australian intelligence agencies investigate Chinese-owned TikTok over security concerns

00:21  02 august  2020
00:21  02 august  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

United States. Senate votes to ban TikTok on government employee phones

 United States. Senate votes to ban TikTok on government employee phones © RUVIC / REUTERS (illustration photo) The US Senate on Thursday passed a bill that bans the use of TikTok on everything device issued by the government to its employees. The Chinese application is said to represent "a major security risk", suspected of being used for surveillance purposes.

Senators say TikTok should be investigated by U.S. intelligence for potential "national security risks". "Given these concerns , we ask that the Intelligence Community conduct an assessment of the But since it is owned by a Chinese company, TikTok would still have to comply with Chinese

A ban on the popular Chinese video app TikTok is 'inevitable' in Australia , after US President Donald Trump announced he will shut down the digital platform over national security concerns . Australian experts say the banning of TikTok in Australia is 'a matter of time'.

TikTok is facing intensifying scrutiny in Canberra, with intelligence agencies putting the app under the microscope and some MPs pressing the Federal Government to ban it.

US President Donald Trump has also indicated he's on the brink of banning the video sharing app in the United States, which will likely to bolster calls for Australia to follow suit.

The video-sharing app is enormously popular with young people in their teens and 20s, with more than 1.5 million Australians downloading it to their phones.

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To survive a national security investigation with CFIUS, the company has to prove its Samantha Hoffman, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the committee’s concerns are Those surveillance concerns are much bigger than just TikTok . “The Chinese government has a

But analysts say TikTok harvests huge amounts of data, and warn that the Chinese company which owns it — ByteDance — may be forced to share that information with the Chinese Government.

Last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared the Federal Government was looking "very closely" at TikTok.

"If we consider there is a need to take further action than we are taking now, then I can tell you we won't be shy about it," he said.

The ABC has been told that the Federal Government is conducting two complementary investigations into the app.

The Prime Minister has directed intelligence agencies to investigate whether TikTok poses a security threat.

Simultaneously, the Department of Home Affairs is investigating what steps the Government can take to manage any privacy or data security risks it poses.

For Washington, TikTok must be sold or blocked

 For Washington, TikTok must be sold or blocked © Martin BUREAU President Donald Trump declared to "ban" TikTok in the United States on July 31, 2020 TikTok must be sold or blocked in the United States because of concerns for national security, warned US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday after two days of threats and pressure against the international social network of the Chinese group ByteDance. The platform "cannot exist as it is," he said during an interview on the ABC channel.

Earlier: TikTok ’s Huge Data Harvesting Prompts U.S. Security Concerns . TikTok says American user data is stored in servers in the U.S. and Previous versions of its privacy policy warned users it could exchange information with its Chinese businesses, law enforcement agencies and public authorities

The social media application TikTok is booming in popularity especially with kids who use it to share short, usually funny videos. But TikTok 's parent

Home Affairs is also scrutinising the hugely popular Chinese social media app WeChat, which is used by more than 2 million Australians.

TikTok says it will not share data with Beijing

TikTok Australia stores user data in the US and Singapore, and the company insists TikTok users do not have to worry about their personal information being compromised.

In a statement, it said: "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."

But some Federal MPs say they are sceptical of that claim, pointing out that Chinese law specifically requires companies to hand over information to the authorities if it is requested.

The ABC has spoken to several parliamentarians who have been privately voicing concerns about TikTok.

Federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne, who is deputy chair of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security, has been advocating that TikTok be banned as a retaliatory action if the Chinese Government continues to engage in cyber attacks or economic coercion against Australia.

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The review of the Chinese - owned social-media company adds to its woes in Washington. The U.S. government is investigating the Chinese parent company of the popular short-video app TikTok , raising the stakes for a tech giant under fire because of censorship and national security concerns

Other parliamentarians have hesitated about pressing for a ban but say TikTok needs to face greater scrutiny.

Australia will not automatically follow the lead of the United States if the Trump administration does decide to ban the app.

But a US ban would help build momentum for those pressing for drastic action.

The Indian Government's decision to ban TikTok there has also shifted the calculus in Canberra.

TikTok has been lobbying Federal MPs against a ban, suggesting it has been unfairly caught up in escalating geopolitical tensions between China and Western nations.

"We have no interest in being a political football when it comes to global geopolitical issues," the company said in a statement.

"We welcome ongoing discussions with government audiences as we work to remain a safe, fun and creative platform for people to express themselves."

Social media to front inquiry into interference

This month, representatives from TikTok Australia will also front a parliamentary committee that is investigating the threat of foreign interference through social media.

Trump goes to war with Tiktok: why?

 Trump goes to war with Tiktok: why? © Provided by Gentside Trump goes to war against Tiktok: why? "Regarding tiktok, we are going to ban it in the United States". Donald Trump - 07.31.2020 While Emmanuel Macron has just opened an account on Tiktok , Donald Trump announces his wish to ban the application. The United States has even launched an official investigation, to ensure that Tiktok does not pose a risk to national security. But the fate of the application on American soil seems sealed.

TikTok , owned by Beijing-based parent company Bytedance, has exploded in popularity and become one of the few Chinese - owned social media apps to gain traction in Western countries. TikTok said in a statement that it stores all US user data in the United States and backs it up in Singapore.

US lawmakers have expressed concern over possible national security issues, and TikTok has faced accusations of censorship at the The Transportation Security Administration became the latest federal agency to ban short-form video app TikTok , which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance.

The committee is being chaired by Labor Senator Jenny McAllister, who said there were credible reports TikTok took more data than its users realised.

"I'd like TikTok to explain the way that they protect the privacy of users of their data, and I'd also like them to explain how it is that they moderate content," she told the ABC.

But she said it was premature to call for a ban on TikTok at this stage.

"I think the task of the committee is to try and describe the nature of the problem. If you've got a good handle on the problem, then you can develop solutions — but we're not there yet," she said.

"I think the most likely outcome is there is no one single solution … that's likely to provide a complete answer."

It's not just TikTok facing scrutiny: representatives from Google, Facebook, Twitter and WeChat have also been called to give evidence at the committee.

Jenny McAllister said it would be "naïve" to imagine that Australia would be immune from social media disinformation campaigns that have already marred some elections overseas.

She said the committee would press the social media giants to explain what steps they were taking to disrupt foreign interference.

"What kind of content do they promote and what kind of content do they try and hide? And what point do they intervene if they suspect there is coordinated activity online seeking to disrupt or degrade Australian politics?" she said.

"I think we need significantly greater transparency from these platforms."

China: United States operate "bullying" at Tiktok .
The US President's threats to ban the video platform violate principles of a market economy, the Beijing communist government says. © picture-alliance / NurPhoto / J. Porzycki Provided by Deutsche Welle China has criticized the United States for taking action against the Tiktok video platform. President Donald Trump's threat to ban the company in the United States is "pure bullying," said a spokesman for the Chinese State Department.

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