As privacy breach concerns over TikTok’s parent company Bytedance continue to mount, two southern governors of different political parties have decided to ban the popular social media app on public devices.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) signed executive order 276 last Thursday. “Cybersecurity professionals have identified TikTok and WeChat as high-risk applications due to their lack of sufficient privacy controls and connections to countries that sponsor or support cyber-attacks against the United States,” Cooper said in a press release. “Several government entities in the United States, including multiple branches of the United States Military, the Transportation Security Administration, and other states, have banned TikTok, WeChat, and other applications on federal and state government information technology. It’s important for us to protect state information technology from foreign countries that have actively participated in cyber attacks against the United States, Protecting North Carolina from cyber threats is vital to ensuring the safety, security, privacy and success of our state.”
The executive order comes after two State House representatives, Jason Saine and Jon Hardister, penned a letter to the governor requesting the ban.
“The Governor’s Executive Order takes an important first step to ensure the privacy of our citizens and the security of North Carolina’s government networks,” Saine said.
In Mississippi, Governor Tate Reeves issued a directive to Mississippi departments and agencies banning TikTok from all state-issued government devices and the state’s network. The directive was announced in a letter from Governor Reeves to Mississippi department and agency heads. Governor Reeves issued the directive to better safeguard sensitive information and protect critical infrastructure from TikTok.
“It’s no secret that the Chinese Communist Party is actively trying to steal U.S. intellectual property and Americans’ personal information,” Reeves said in a press release. “It’s a major threat to our national security and critical infrastructure, costs the U.S. economy hundreds of billions annually, and jeopardizes American jobs,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “Mississippi isn’t going to sit around waiting for the Chinese Communist Party to steal our state government data, and that’s why I issued this directive. It will help us better protect our state’s sensitive information and critical infrastructure.”