Parliamentarians from New Zealand have been advised against using TikTok because of worries that the Chinese government may access their data.

Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard warned both parties last week that lawmakers should not use the app on their official phones or devices.

According to an email they have received even having the app installed could be a breach of security.

If members of the Parlament decide to keep the app, they should review the settings to „make sure you are satisfied with the rights you have provided” and „delete its ability to access your location,” even though the parliamentary staff „highly suggests” removing it completely.

It pointed to a BuzzFeed piece from June that detailed how foreign governments were getting access to US users’ non-public data.

Only a few New Zealand politicians now have an official TikTok presence, despite the fact that Australian candidates for politics are increasingly using the app. Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, the head of the Mori Party, has gained popularity for uploading political spins on TikTok trends, such as a group dance with the message „On our way to dispute with some white racists.”

TikTok has frequently been the subject of penalties, bans, and warnings due to worries about its security and the company’s ties to the Chinese government. Donald Trump, who was president at the time, issued an executive order banning TikTok in 2020 because of security concerns and the app’s ties to the Chinese government.

Both the Democratic and Republican national conventions issued statements cautioning workers against using the app. Joe Biden declared he would lift the directives in 2021, but he kept an eye on TikTok’s impact on US national security.

Legislators in New Zealand had already been told to remove the app; in 2020, members of the parliament received a similar warning. TikTok use on work-related equipment is already prohibited for some New Zealand government employees, including the police.