A leaked directive sent to parliamentary staff from the cybersecurity team says TikTok poses “significant privacy and security risks” and it’s “strongly recommended” anyone who has the app installed deletes it.
“Employees should remove the app from your device immediately,” it goes on to say.
It also warns staffers TikTok might access people’s contact list, other apps on their phone and their location.
The GCSB said in a statement it hasn’t provided any specific advice to public servants on the use of TikTok.
“Each agency must manage the acceptable use of the devices they issue to staff, including personal use such as the installation of non-work related applications.
“There has not been specific advice from the [Government Chief Information Security Officer] on the use of TikTok as we are not aware of widespread work-related use of these applications in the Public Service.”
It comes as politicians use social media to connect with voters more than ever. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made cameo appearances in videos on TikTok, along with National MP Nicola Willis making valiant attempts at dancing on the app.
Ardern has expressed her security concerns over the app.
“I’m always mindful, given the job that I do of security issues when it comes to the use of apps or forms of communication.”
But that concern was not as strong as America’s, with Trump threatening to ban the app unless its US operations are sold to Microsoft.
“You can’t be controlled for security reasons by China, too big, too invasive,” Trump says.
Some politicians have viewed the app as a joke.
“My kids are on it, I don’t understand it, but I’ve removed it,” Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi says.
“I feel like I’m too old for it,” Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick says.
“I once did a dance for a TikTok video, and it’s the most dangerous thing I’ve done involving TikTok,” ACT leader David Seymour says.
While there’s no blanket policy for staffers and no plan to ban the app for the public, Justice Minister Andrew Little says the app is “probably one to steer clear of at the moment”.