More than 20 US states are banning TikTok on government devices due to security concerns

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Kentucky is the latest US state to ban the popular video app TikTok on government devices.

Washington:

Kentucky joins more than 20 US states in banning popular video app TikTok on government devices over cybersecurity concerns.

The state said it updated its employee handbook to prevent state employees from using government-controlled devices to access the Chinese app “other than for law enforcement purposes.” On Thursday, the governors of Wisconsin and North Carolina signed orders banning TikTok on government devices. Ohio, New Jersey and Arkansas also took similar actions earlier this week.

Some states have gone beyond focusing on TikTok. New Jersey and Wisconsin, for example, have also banned suppliers, products and services from other Chinese companies, including Huawei Technologies, Hikvision, Tencent Holdings – the owner of WeChat, ZTE Corp and Russia-based Kaspersky Lab.

TikTok said it was “disappointed that so many states are jumping on the political bandwagon to enact policies that will do nothing to promote cybersecurity in their states and are based on baseless falsehoods about TikTok.”

Most of the states running so far have Republican governors, but Wisconsin, North Carolina and Kentucky all have Democratic governors.

Calls to ban TikTok from government devices gained momentum after US FBI director Christopher Wray said in November that it poses national security risks.

Wray signaled the threat that the Chinese government could use the app to influence users or control their devices.

For three years now, TikTok – which has more than 100 million users – has been trying to assure Washington that the personal data of US citizens cannot be accessed and its content cannot be manipulated by the Chinese Communist Party or any other entity under Beijing’s influence .

Last month, President Joe Biden signed into law a government funding bill that included a ban on federal employees using or downloading TikTok on government-owned devices.

The law gives the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 60 days “to develop standards and guidelines for executive agencies requiring the removal” of TikTok from federal devices.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)

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