The Albanese government has refused to implement a broad ban on TikTok for public servants, despite concerns the app is able to access user data for the Chinese Communist Party.
Opposition cybersecurity spokesman James Paterson slammed the government for its “haphazard and inconsistent” approach to the app which has been banned for government officials in the US and Canada.
He said an audit of government departments showed 25 had banned the app on workers’ devices but many had not.
He said 12 departments and agencies had a partial ban on TikTok on work-issued devices, while at least 11 departments had no restrictions at all. Those departments included the ABC and Australia Post.
Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil earlier this year said it was not necessary to implement a broad ban on the app across the public service.
Senator Paterson said news that TikTok’s parent company had used the app to access the data of journalists writing stories critical of the company should ring alarm bells across all government departments.
“The risks posed by this app have been apparent for some time, particularly the revelations in December that employees of TikTok in China used the app to spy on journalists writing critical articles about the company and lied about doing so,” he said.
“If they can do it to a journalist, they can do it to a public servant or a bureaucrat, and I don’t think that’s a risk we should tolerate.”
Ms O’Neil, who is currently conducting a review of all social media platforms, , has ruled out completely banning TikTok.