Yet another group of three governors has announced their intent to join the rapidly growing number of states establishing bans on employees in regard to the use of the Chinese app TikTok across all state-owned devices.
In a series of separate orders which were announced on Tuesday and Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum all slammed down new order all prohibiting employees of the state from using the Chinese0built social media app on any device owned by the state or used for state business. The three states are just the most recent ones to ban the app, following similar efforts that have already been made by roughly half a dozen other states, and bipartisan legislation to ban TikTok within Congress.
“It is clear that TikTok represents a national security risk to our country and I refuse to subject the citizens of Iowa to that risk,” explained Reynolds in a statement issued this past Tuesday. “They trust us with their personal and confidential information and we will take every step possible to protect it, including from the Chinese government. The safety of Iowans is my number one priority and that includes their cybersecurity.” The order from Reynolds seeks to ban all state agencies from either owning or subscribing to an account for TikTok and bans the installation and use of the app on any devices owned by the state.
As part of a memo sent out to all the heads of state agencies throughout Alabama, Ivey announced that she had called on the Secretary of Information Technology to expressly block the app from accessing the IT network and devices in the state, with a select few exceptions for law enforcement and a few other critical functions. She also called on the state agencies to take strides to block TikTok from accessing sensitive data from the state. “Protecting Alabama’s IT infrastructure from cyber threats is vital to ensuring the safety and success of our State,” explained Ivey in the memo.
“The computer devices and networks used by our state government house significant amounts of Alabamians’ sensitive data. They also ensure the proper functioning of numerous automated government functions.” Ivey highlighted a number of recent reports from prominent officials in national security which warned about the overly excessive amounts of and the various types of data that the app forces the user to agree to give over from their device, as well as ByteDance’s, the apps parent company, overt ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
The executive order from Burgum went even further than the others. In addition to banning the application for all state devices, state employees for North Dakota are blocked from even visiting the website for TikTok on any state device. Burgum also stated that his agencies would be setting up controls to stop state employees from using the platform. The order sparks a number of similar concerns from the FBI about the company’s tied to the CCP. It also highlighted the efforts of the governor to ban the platform.