Several US states ban TikTok on government devices

Wisconsin and North Carolina have signed orders banning popular video app TikTok on government devices due to cyber security concerns.
TikTok technology focusMore than 20 other states earlier banned TikTok, owned by China-based technology firm ByteDance, from state devices including Ohio, New Jersey and Arkansas.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has also banned vendors, products and services from other Chinese companies including Huawei Technologies, Hikvision, Tencent Holdings – the owner of WeChat, ZTE as well as Russian-based Kaspersky Lab.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed an order directing officials to develop a policy within 14 days that prohibits the use of TikTok, WeChat and potentially other applications that present cybersecurity risks on state devices.

TikTok said it was disappointed that so many states are jumping on the political bandwagon to enact policies that will do nothing to advance cybersecurity in their states and are based on unfounded falsehoods about TikTok.

The Democratic governors of Wisconsin and North Carolina joined mostly Republican governors who have led the charge to ban TikTok from state devices, Reuters news report said.

Calls to ban TikTok from government devices gained steam after U.S. FBI Director Christopher Wray said in November it poses national security risks.

Wray flagged the threat that the Chinese government could harness the app to influence users or control their devices.

For three years, TikTok – which has more than 100 million users – has been seeking to assure Washington that the personal data of U.S. citizens cannot be accessed and its content cannot be manipulated by China’s Communist Party or any other entity under Beijing’s influence.

Last month, President Joe Biden signed into law a government funding bill that included a ban on federal employees from using or downloading TikTok on government-owned devices.

The law gives the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 60 days to develop standards and guidelines for executive agencies requiring the removal of TikTok from federal devices.