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Australia said Tuesday it will bar TikTok on government devices, joining a growing list of Western nations pulling down on the Chinese-owned app due to national security fears.

Mark Dreyfus, Attorney-General said the decision was as a result of an advice from the country’s intelligence agencies and would begin “as soon as practicable”.

Australia is the last member of the secretive Five Eyes security alliance to run a government TikTok ban, joining its allies the United States, Britain, Canada and New Zealand.

France, the Netherlands and the European Commission have made similar plans.

Dreyfus noted the government would allow some exemptions on a “case-by-case basis” with “appropriate security mitigations in place”.

Cybersecurity experts have warned that the app — which boasts more than one billion global users — could be used to consume data that is then shared with the Chinese government.
Surveys have estimated that as many as seven million Australians make use of the app — or about a quarter of the population.

In a security notice defining the ban, the Attorney-General’s Department stated TikTok posed “significant security and privacy risks” originating from the “extensive collection of user data”.
China condemned the action, saying it had “lodged stern representations” with Canberra over the move and urging Australia to “provide Chinese companies with a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment”.

“China has always maintained that the issue of data security should not be used as a tool to generalise the concept of national security, abuse state power and unreasonably suppress companies from other countries,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.

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