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Security agencies made right call in not banning TikTok

Fighting cybercrime is a crucial area for national security policy, but the challenge will be balancing the risks against the costs of protecting our networks. The risks detailed in a new federal cyber security strategy released on Thursday range from malignant attacks by foreign powers on infrastructure, such as power stations and airports, to data theft and ransomware, which inserts destructive viruses on networks.

Terrorists and organised crime groups, such as paedophile rings, can also use encrypted software or the ‘‘dark web’’ to operate worldwide without detection.

Australian intelligence agencies advised that TikTok did not present a serious national security risk.

Australian intelligence agencies advised that TikTok did not present a serious national security risk.Credit:Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The federal government’s strategy has committed $1.6 billion over the next four years, about 10 times more than previously, to help businesses, individuals and government departments fight these threats. That will pay for more cyber security experts, public awareness campaigns, better software design and the like.

Yet, on the other side of the ledger, the global software industry and privacy advocates are concerned that in the name of protecting Australia, the government could overstep.

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