Pirate Party Australia, a political party focused on digital rights and civil liberties, acknowledges the potential risks posed by TikTok, but also emphasises the importance of a measured and evidence-based approach when addressing these concerns. While we understand the importance of national security, we must also protect citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and access to information. An outright ban on TikTok could set a dangerous precedent for censoring other platforms in the future. We encourage open dialogue and cooperation between the Australian government, TikTok, and the international community to address the concerns raised.
Pirate Party President Miles Whiticker said, “A better, more general, approach would be to require all government software to be open sourced. That way we can leverage the open source community to provide decentralised security.”
Pirate Party Australia also recommends that the government focuses on implementing comprehensive data privacy laws and transparent regulations that apply to all tech companies operating in Australia. This approach would ensure that any concerns about data security and privacy are addressed uniformly across the industry, rather than singling out individual companies. These regulations would establish controls on how and where Australian user data can be stored and whether it may be transmitted overseas.
Pirate Party Australia reiterates the importance of an individual right to privacy, augmented by heightened security standards around private data. Individuals must have a legally protected right to control data collection on devices they own, including making decisions regarding data retention, encryption, transmission, and deletion. The Pirate Party also calls for raising the floor for privacy protection in Australia, urging the adoption of higher privacy standards for entities that handle private data, including requiring entities to complete Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) that encompass binding data security safeguards. Pirate Party Australia believes that these policies will not only address concerns over TikTok but also contribute to fostering a more secure, privacy-conscious digital environment for all Australians.
Pirate Party Australia is also urging the government to work with app store providers and international partners to develop and implement a standardised disclosure system for apps that may be subject to data access legislation by the Australian government or foreign governments. The proposed system would require app developers to clearly label and provide information about potential access to user data, including where it might be used by marketing companies, law enforcement, foreign governments, or machine learning algorithms.
Pirate Party President Miles Whiticker said, “By increasing transparency and providing Australian citizens with accurate and accessible information, we can better protect digital privacy and maintain trust in the digital ecosystem. We believe this approach addresses national security concerns while maintaining the protection of individual liberties and fostering a more informed and engaged digital citizenship.”
The party’s position aligns with growing concerns about the potential for foreign government influence and data privacy issues associated with apps like TikTok. Pirate Party Australia continues to advocate for policies that protect individual privacy.