labama and Utah have banned the use of the Chinese video-clip sharing site TikTok on state government devices and computer networks due to national security concerns that the app is a data-gathering tool utilized by the Chinese government to spy on Americans.
The move follows a warning from FBI Director Christopher Wray, who said a Bureau analysis indicated that the Chinese Bytedance-owned app could be used for data-collection on millions of Americans, and that the recommendation algorithm could be used to perform influence operations on the nation.
In a statement, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said, “Disturbingly, TikTok harvests vast amounts of data, much of which has no legitimate connection to the app’s supposed purpose of video sharing. Use of TikTok involving state IT infrastructure thus creates an unacceptable vulnerability to Chinese infiltration operations.”
She also included in her directive orders for the executive branch agencies to take measures to prevent the app from having access to sensitive state data.
In a statement, a TikTok spokesperson said, “We’re disappointed that so many states are jumping on the bandwagon to enact policies based on unfounded, politically charged falsehoods about TikTok.”
Brendan Carr, Federal Communications Commissioner, tweeted on Monday that nine states have acted to constrain the usage of Tik Tok, “based on the serious security threats it presents.”
Other states which have banned the use of the app on state devices are Texas, Maryland and South Dakota.
Indiana has filed a suit against the app, over it using deceptive practices to hide China’s access to user data, and exposing children to mature content.
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