Liberal senator James Paterson says Australia should consider banning TikTok as concern grows over the Chinese social media app.
Paterson, who is the opposition's cyber security spokesperson said that the app should be shelved if the government can't guarantee that the Chinese tech company isn't mining data from Aussie users.
TikTok made international headlines last week as a cybersecurity report revealed the app can track users' screen taps when they visit other sites through TikTok.
The Australian reported that:
Felix Krause, a security researcher previously employed by Google, this week released a ground-breaking report proving TikTok can extract “granular” personal data from users’ keystrokes.
When users enter a website through a link in the app (ie. the in-app browser), TikTok inserts code which can monitor an individual’s activity on external websites. This can include monitoring users’ passwords, credit card information or other highly-sensitive details.
“This was an active choice the company made,” Krause, who is based in Vienna, said. “This is a non-trivial engineering task. This does not happen by mistake or randomly.”
A spokeswoman for TikTok said the researcher’s report was incorrect and misleading.
Paterson, who also serves on the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, said that the new geopolitical landscape has increased tensions with China and meant that the Australian government needed to be on the front-foot in addressing security risks.
"A ban should be on the table... we don't want to wake up in a conflict scenario and think we need to protect our cyber security," he was quoted as saying the report.
Also quoted was Director of Cyber Intelligence at Australian security firm CyberCX Katherine Manstead who said that the Chinese Communist Party had 'an insatiable appetite for the personal information of Australian citizens'.