TikTok is reportedly being investigated in Australia over potential data-privacy issues. The Australian government is apparently looking at whether the app poses any risk to users due to possible ‘foreign interference’. The development comes barely weeks after the app was banned in India. It has also come under intense scrutiny in the US recently.
In an interview to a local radio station in Melbourne on Friday, Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said that his government was taking “a good look” at TikTok’s operations in the country. “If we consider there is a need to take further action than we are taking now, then I can tell you we won’t be shy about it”, he said.
Unfortunately for TikTok, it’s not just the ruling party politicians that are wary of the app. Opposition politicians in Australia are also skeptical of the app’s data-security policies. One of them is Labor Senator and the chairwoman of an influential parliamentary committee, Jenny McAllister.
In a recent interview to ABC Radio, she raised concerns about the alleged censoring of content that goes against Beijing’s narrative of global events. “For example, removing material about Tiananmen Square, or deprioritising material about Hong Kong protests … Some of these approaches to moderating content might be inconsistent with Australian values”, she said.
TikTok and its parent company, meanwhile, have claimed that they have no relation with the Chinese government. According to TikTok Australia GM, Lee Hunter, “we are independent and not aligned with any government, political party or ideology”. He further claimed that TikTok Australia’s data was stored securely in Singapore and the US, not in China.