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Taiwan Digital Affairs Minister Flags TikTok as National Security Risk

During a legislative hearing, Taiwan’s Digital Affairs Minister Audrey Tang emphasized the country’s classification of TikTok as a “dangerous product” due to its vulnerability to manipulation by foreign entities.

Taiwan’s Minister of Digital Affairs, Audrey Tang, recently stressed upon potential risks associated with the popular social media platform TikTok, owned by Chinese internet company Bytedance. According to reports from Taiwan’s Central News Agency, Tang labeled TikTok as a significant national security threat citing its connections to foreign adversaries, echoing similar concerns raised by the United States.

During a legislative hearing, Tang emphasized Taiwan’s classification of TikTok as a “dangerous product” due to its vulnerability to manipulation by foreign entities. This classification aligns with Taiwan’s stringent standards for national information and communication security.

The concerns voiced by Tang mirror a broader trend observed in the United States, where the House of Representatives recently passed a bill targeting ByteDance. This bill set a deadline for ByteDance to divest its US assets or face potential restrictions, reflecting the shared apprehensions regarding foreign influence through digital platforms.

Proposed Amendment

To address these concerns, Taiwan’s Ministry of Digital Affairs (MODA) proposed an amendment to the Cyber Security Management Act, aimed at mitigating indirect foreign influence on digital infrastructure.

Currently, TikTok’s usage is banned within Taiwanese government agencies, but Tang suggested the possibility of extending this restriction to other sectors such as schools, non-governmental agencies, and public spaces, pending Cabinet approval. She highlighted the importance of a thorough evaluation process considering legal frameworks and practical implications.

“The final decision will be made by the Cabinet after extensive consideration of opinions in the various sectors,” the ministry stated.

The decision-making process regarding TikTok’s usage involves careful deliberation within the Cabinet, with input sought from various sectors through ongoing inter-ministerial discussions. In addition to domestic measures, Taiwan’s Ministry of Digital Affairs is closely monitoring the progress of relevant legislation in the US Congress.

According to reports from CNA Taiwan, products or services with the potential to disrupt government operations or societal stability are classified as threats to national information and communication security, in line with established regulations.

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