New Jersey and Ohio are the latest states to ban TikTok on government-owned appliances on the grounds of cybersecurity concerns.
On Monday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, announced that the Chinese-owned video app would no longer be allowed on government devices.
Mr. Murphy, through a cybersecurity directive, prohibited the use of any “high-risk” software and service on government devices. This directive included not only TikTok but software from other Chinese-based companies like Huawei, Hikvision, Tencent and ZTE as well.
Mr. DeWine, through an executive order, echoed Mr. Murphy’s anti-Chinese business action. He banned any application owned by a company located in China from installation on a government device.
He cites in the order a 2017 Chinese law that requires Chinese-based companies to assist the Chinese Communist Party with intelligence efforts.
“These social media applications and platforms are known to directly or indirectly act as an intelligence gathering mechanism for the CCP by sharing sensitive personal and business information and data obtained from its users and their devices with the CCP.” the executive order reads.
Ohio and New Jersey banning the popular app from its government devices comes after President Biden approved a bill in December that would ban the use of TikTok on federal government devices.
The U.S. military issued a similar decree this year citing many of the same cybersecurity concerns that FBI Director Christopher Wray brought up in November 2022.
Actions against TikTok may not stop at banning them from government phones.
Conservatives, notably Sen. Marco Rubio, have called for TikTok to be banned in the United States.
“TikTok is digital fentanyl that’s addicting Americans, collecting troves of their data, and censoring their news. It’s also an increasingly powerful media company that’s owned by ByteDance, which ultimately reports to the Chinese Community Party — America’s foremost adversary,” reads a press release from Mr. Rubio, Florida Republican.
While it remains to be seen the kind of political support that a federal ban on TikTok would receive, the trend is sure to continue. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers told reporters last week that he wants to ban the app as well.
TikTok, in response to the bans, categorized the concerns as purely political.
“We are continuing to work with the federal government to finalize a solution that will meaningfully address any security concerns that have been raised at the federal and state level,” a spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch.
• Vaughn Cockayne can be reached at email@example.com.
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