The number of US states prohibiting TikTok on government-issued phones due to cyber security issues is growing; the most recent states to do so are Wisconsin and North Carolina.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers posted on Twitter, “I just signed an executive order barring TikTok and other potentially cybersecurity-threatening services on state-issued smartphones.”
Protecting digital privacy and defending the state’s technological and cybersecurity infrastructure will continue to be important priorities, he stressed.
The Chinese-owned video-sharing app, which debuted in 2016, has been immensely popular worldwide recently, reaching 755 million users worldwide in 2022.
Teenagers in America now use TikTok to the tune of two-thirds.
However, it has drawn criticism for giving the Chinese government access to user’s private information, such as their location and browsing history.
A law to bar federal employees from using TikTok on work-related devices was enacted by the Senate in December 2022 last year. The US army had already forbidden TikTok on military equipment.
Beginning in 2022, TikTok was banned on Government-owned Devices
At least 26 states have completely or partially outlawed the use of TikTok on government-issued smartphones as of January 2023.
In 2020, Florida was the first state to enact a ban, then Nebraska.
Former governor of Nebraska Pete Ricketts stated, “As an app controlled by a firm located in China, TikTok is legally required to transfer data from its users to the country’s communist leadership upon request.”
In November 2022 of last year, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem issued an executive order prohibiting state agencies, workers, and contractors from using government-issued devices to access TikTok.
The Chinese Communist Party, according to Noem, “uses information that it gets on TikTok to influence the American people, and they capture data of the devices that use the platform.”
Maryland’s Office of Security Management published a cybersecurity directive on December 13, 2022, ordering the popular social networking site to be shut down because it poses an “intolerable level of cybersecurity risk to the state,” such as “cyber-espionage” or “monitoring of government agencies.”
A day later, Indiana filed a lawsuit against TikTok, claiming that the company misled users about China’s access to their data and exposed kids to inappropriate material. On phones provided by the government, the Indiana Office of Technology has prohibited sharing of brief videos.
In 2022, these states will be joined by Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Alabama, Iowa, North Dakota, Idaho, New Hampshire, Georgia, Virginia, Montana, West Virginia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Kansas in banning TikTok.
In 2023, more States will outlaw TikTok
The usage of TikTok on government-owned smartphones has been prohibited since Jan. 8 2023 according to an executive order signed by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who asserts that China uses social media sites as “intelligence collection techniques.”
Ohio also outlawed Tencent, WeChat, Weibo, and DingTalk, among other China-based websites and software.
On January 9, New Jersey released a cybersecurity regulation that forbids the use of “high-risk applications” on government-owned devices, including TikTok, Alibaba, and WeChat.
The use of TikTok on state-owned devices by government officials and employees is prohibited in 2023 in Arkansas, Wisconsin, Mississippi, and North Carolina.
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