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Taiwan flags TikTok as national security risk.

TikTok, the popular social media platform owned by a China-based company, faces increased scrutiny in Taiwan, as Minister of Digital Affairs Audrey Tang declares it a significant national security threat. Central News agency Taiwan reported that TikTok's usage is already restricted within Taiwanese government agencies and their premises, citing concerns over its potential to compromise national security.

Tang underscored the platform's association with foreign adversaries, echoing perspectives shared by the United States, which has also expressed apprehensions regarding TikTok's security implications. In a recent legislative hearing, Tang emphasized that Taiwan has classified TikTok as a dangerous product due to its susceptibility to control by foreign entities, either directly or indirectly, posing risks to national information and communication security standards.

The move in Taiwan aligns with actions taken in the United States, where the House of Representatives passed a bill targeting ByteDance, TikTok's parent company. This legislation requires ByteDance to divest its US assets within a specified timeline or face a nationwide ban. Taiwan's concerns echo those in the US about potential foreign influence over digital platforms.

Tang revealed that Taiwan's Ministry of Digital Affairs (MODA) has proposed an amendment to the Cyber Security Management Act, reflecting concerns similar to those addressed in the US House bill. This proposed amendment underscores Taiwan's commitment to fortifying its digital infrastructure against external interference.

While TikTok's usage is already restricted within Taiwanese government agencies, Tang hinted at the possibility of extending this ban to schools, non-governmental agencies, and public spaces, pending a decision by the Cabinet. She stressed the need for a comprehensive assessment, considering legal processes and practical feasibility before implementing such measures.

The final decision regarding the extension of TikTok restrictions will be made by the Cabinet after thorough consideration of opinions from various sectors, the ministry asserted. It highlighted ongoing inter-ministerial discussions convened by the Cabinet to address this issue effectively.

Moreover, Taiwan's digital ministry remains vigilant about the progress of the TikTok bill in the US Congress, signaling keen interest in international developments shaping digital security policies.

In accordance with existing regulations established in 2019 and revised in 2022, any information and communication system or service with the potential to disrupt government operations or societal stability is classified as a product endangering national information and communication security, as reported by CNA Taiwan.

March 23, 2024 5:04 p.m. 9317

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