Texas Governor Abbott Announces Plans to Ban TikTok from Government Devices

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced a plan to ban the use of popular video-sharing app TikTok on all state-issued devices, citing security concerns about potential access to user data by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The Chinese-owned and -operated company, which moved its headquarters to Singapore late last year, has been controversial among Republicans for some time due to fears that it could give the CCP access to private information from American citizens—including minors, who are reportedly overrepresented in its userbase.

A wave of concern about the security risks inherent in the Chinese-owned app TikTok has led many states across the country to ban it from government-issued devices. At the end of January, Maine became the 29th U.S. state to pass such a law. On Feb. 6, Governor Greg Abbott announced that Texas would become number 30, issuing a statement explaining that he was taking this measure due to fears of the Chinese accessing sensitive and/or classified data from government devices.

On Feb. 6, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared his support for banning the app TikTok from state-issued devices. “The security risks associated with the use of TikTok on devices used to conduct the important business of our state must not be underestimated or ignored,” said Abbott in a statement.

Owned by a Chinese company that employs members of the Chinese Communist Party, he explained that the app harvests data from user’s devices and has potential to threaten information security if left unchecked.

He thanked both the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Department of Information Resources for their hard work in protecting against such threats and stated that it was “critical that state agencies and employees are protected from [the] vulnerabilities presented by [the] use of…this app.”