At least 20 additional US states have joined New Jersey and Ohio in banning TikTok, amid growing concern of spying from China, on government-owned devices. Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey issued on Monday an executive order to “prohibit the use of high-risk software and services” on equipment owned by the government - the use of TikTok was part of this order.
On the same day, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued an executive order prohibiting the use of any software, platform, or website “owned by an entity located in China” on government-owned hardware.
A list of software providers, goods, and services to prohibit was provided by New Jersey, with a focus on Chinese-owned businesses. Bytedance Ltd, the parent company of TikTok, Huawei Technologies, WeChat, and Alibaba goods, were among them. Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity company, was also subject to the ban.
It said that an investigation into TikTok revealed that the service records user keystrokes, frequently screen captures, accesses phone data. Moreover it gets other private user data like passwords.
New Jersey, Ohio join others in banning TikTok from state devices over spying fears
Murphy of New Jersey says, “Bolstering cybersecurity is critical to protecting the overall safety and welfare of our state.” “The proactive and preventative measures we are implementing today will ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and safety of information assets managed by the New Jersey State government.”
“This decisive action will ensure the cybersecurity of the state is unified against actors who may seek to divide us.” The 2017 National Intelligence Law in China mandates that corporations operating there gather private information, “including data exchange with the Chinese Communist Party,” according to Ohio’s executive order.
Furthermore, it stated that Chinese social media sites serve as the government of China’s primary “intelligence gathering mechanism.” Platforms from Tencent, WeChat, Weibo, and the Alibaba Group DingTalk subsidiary were prohibited in Ohio.
TikTok has been restricted by more than 20 states on official devices
Since December, many jurisdictions, including Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and others. They have prohibited TikTok from being used on official devices. Before the bans in New Jersey and Ohio were announced, the website Government Technology conducted an investigation. The investigation revealed more than 20 states had restricted access to TikTok on official devices.
On Friday, the governor of Wisconsin also declared his intention to support the ban.
After FBI Director Chris Wray warned that TikTok might collect user data for espionage purposes, security concerns grew.
TikTok might be used to eavesdrop on American users. So in December, President Joe Biden signed a bill prohibiting federal employees from using the app on work computers.
Insider’s request for comment from TikTok has yet to receive a response.