Texas Governor Abbott has banned the use and download of the viral video-sharing application, TikTok, citing privacy and data harvesting concerns from Chinese state-owned companies.
The new directive bans the downloading or using TikTok on any government-issued devices, including cell phones, laptops, tablets, desktop computers, and other devices capable of Internet connectivity, which is to be strictly enforced by an agency’s IT department. The Governor explained:
“TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from its users’ devices—including when, where, and how they conduct Internet activity—and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government,” reads one of the letters. “While TikTok has claimed that it stores U.S. data within the U.S., the company admitted in a letter to Congress that China-based employees can have access to U.S. data. It has also been reported that ByteDance planned to use TikTok location information to surveil individual American citizens. Further, under China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law, all businesses are required to assist China in intelligence work including data sharing, and TikTok’s algorithm has already censored topics politically sensitive to the Chinese Communist Party, including the Tiananmen Square protests.”
This comes one day after Maryland Governor Hogan made the same directive for Maryland State employees on state owned devices.