In New Zealand, legislators have been precluded from using the popular social media application TikTok due to apprehensions about data utilization.
The nation’s Privacy Commissioner, John Edwards, declared the boycott on Wednesday, explaining that the app poses a potential security risk due to its capacity to accumulate data.
“My worry is that TikTok is a very well-known app, yet it has a business model that is established on a vast amount of data collection and analysis,” Edwards said. “We have to be very mindful of the potential for misuse of such data.”
The Chinese-owned video-sharing platform, which has more than 800 million users worldwide, has been scrutinized for its data assortment practices in a number of jurisdictions, including the United States and the European Union. In April, the U.S. government prohibited federal workers from downloading the app.
Edward’s announcement came after a survey conducted by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner revealed that 70 percent of New Zealand lawmakers had utilized the app, and that 14 percent had shared personal data, including passport information and bank account numbers.
The Privacy Commissioner additionally observed that the app had the potential to be used for political purposes, such as influencing the outcomes of elections.
“We need to make sure that our politicians are alert to the possibility of data misuse, and that they are not allowing their data to be used for political means,” Edwards said.
In response to the Privacy Commissioner’s statement, the government said it was “taking steps” to address the issues raised in the survey.
“We take the privacy of our citizens very seriously and will be taking steps to ensure our politicians are aware of the risks associated with using social media applications such as TikTok,” a spokesperson said.
In light of the findings, New Zealand legislators have been proscribed from using the platform, with the government warning them of the potential risks associated with its data collection practices.