Greens Senator David Shoebridge deletes Temu app and is calling on other politicians to do the same

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Remy Varga
The Nightly
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Greens senator David Shoebridge warns consumers to avoid Temu
Greens senator David Shoebridge warns consumers to avoid Temu Credit: The Nightly

A high-profile Greens senator who deleted the Chinese-owned Temu shopping app from his phone due to privacy and slave labour concerns is urging others to dump it too.

Greens NSW Senator David Shoebridge said he purchased a set of cooking liners for an air fryer after being bombarded by ads for Temu on social media.

Senator Shoebridge said he deleted the app after learning of data security concerns around the app as well as a lack of transparency and supply chain safeguards.

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“I purchased a set of cooking liners for an air fryer and then shortly after deleted the app, the lack of privacy protections and the concerns about its unethical supply chain was the reason,” he said.

“I would urge people not to use the app and, like myself, inform themselves about the risks, protect their data and look for more transparent and ethical online platforms.

“I suspect I’m not alone in having received relentless ads for this site across social media applications who are themselves making money pushing this concerning app.”

Temu has launched an aggressive advertising campaign across social media platforms including Facebook and TikTok as cost of living pressures push consumers towards bargain options and retail spending falls in Australia.

The discount marketplace sells consumer products at aggressively discounted prices such as handheld vacuum cleaners for $12.31 and is believed to be trying to imitate the rise of Chinese fast fashion brand Shein.

Concerns have been raised over the data security of Australian consumers using Temu, which is a subsidiary PDD Holdings.

Chinese national security laws require companies to cooperate with CCP security agencies while prohibiting them from publicly disclosing whether they have accessed the data.

Chinese national security laws require companies, including TikTok owner ByteDance and Temu owner PDD Holdings, to cooperate with CCP security agencies while prohibiting them from publicly disclosing whether they had accessed the data.

Greens Senator David Shoebridge
Young workers in particular want to have a right to a weekend, Greens senator David Shoebridge says. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

According to Temu’s data security policy, the e-commerce platform only collects the minimum amount of information necessary to run the app, including managing and completing orders.

“This aligns with the strict standards set by app marketplaces like Apple’s App Store and Google Play,” said the policy.

The Federal Government has banned bureaucrats and politicians from having Tiktok on government-issued devices due to the security risk from the breadth of data it can access but has not moved on any other apps.

Temu operates as an online marketplace connecting sellers and consumers and has a network of about 80,000 vendors that are largely based in China.

Last year US lawmakers warned of an “extremely high risk” products sold by Temu could have been made with or linked to forced labor.

The e-commerce platform 2023 told a US House Committee that it was not responsible for the third-party sellers the app hosted.

“American consumers should know that there is an extremely high risk that Temu’s supply chains are contaminated with forced labor,” the House Select Committee on the Chinese Community Party said in its report.

Temu later said it prohibited vendors from using forced, penal or child labour.

The Home Affairs Department is developing a framework to address “vendor-based national security risks” that will go to the Government for consideration in the second half of 2024 and has brought forward a review of the data broker ecosystem.


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