Wisconsin governor bans TikTok from state devices on security concerns.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has signed an order banning TikTok on government devices due to security concerns, becoming the latest state to prohibit the use of the popular short-form video app. The Democratic governor also said he was banning vendors, products, and services from nine companies, including the Chinese-owned Huawei, Hikvision, Tencent, ZTE, and Russian-based Kaspersky Lab.
“In the digital age, defending our state’s technology and cybersecurity infrastructure and protecting digital privacy have to be a top priority for us as a state,” says Evers.
The number of states that have banned TikTok from government devices now exceeds 20, including Ohio, New Jersey, and Arkansas. Republican governors have led the charge to ban the app from state devices, with an increasing number of Democratic governors joining in as calls to ban TikTok have gained steam. US FBI Director Christopher Wray renewed interest in concern over the app’s potential for national security risks in November, citing it as a threat that the Chinese government could use to influence users or control their devices.
TikTok has been lobbying to assure the federal government that the personal data of US citizens cannot be accessed or manipulated by the Chinese Communist Party or any other entity under their influence. The company has voiced “disappointment that so many states are jumping on the political bandwagon to enact policies that will do nothing to advance cybersecurity in their states and are based on unfounded falsehoods about TikTok.”
Still, last month, President Joe Biden signed into law a government funding bill that includes a ban on TikTok for federal employees 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.
Presently, TikTok has put a hiring process on hold for consultants to help it implement a potential security agreement with the United States as more government officials have voiced opposition to such a deal.