TikTok MP security risks not assessed

November 07, 2022 04:32 PM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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The security threats TikTok might pose to Australian parliamentarians who download the social media app on their work phones haven't been investigated, despite overseas governments recommending it be banned from supplied devices.

Department of Parliamentary Services officials revealed they hadn't provided advice to parliamentarians or their staff as to whether they should avoid downloading the Chinese-owned platform on their work issued phones.

Questioning officials during a Senate estimates committee hearing on Monday afternoon, Liberal senator James Paterson - the former chair of the intelligence and security committee - said the parliaments in the United States and New Zealand had actively warned against the use of TikTok on government devices.

The US Senate in June voted to approve legislation which included a provision to ban the use of the social media app on work phones. 

When asked why the department hadn't provided similar advice, the DPS's chief information security officer said he was aware of the directive from overseas, but hadn't received similar recommendations from Australian security agencies.

"We haven't received an equivalent level of advice to us that would warrant us to be providing that advice directly to parliamentarians," Toby Amodio told the hearing. 

Senator Paterson asked why DPS hadn't issued the advice when two other departments, home affairs and defence, had instructed their employees not to use the app on their issued phones. 

Mr Amodio said TikTok had not been assessed for any potential risks, nor had DPS recommended politicians use social media apps on a separate personal phone.


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