Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill that bans TikTok and other ‘foreign-controlled’ apps on government and educational institution devices.
The Republican governor signed three bills into law that he says will keep foreign interests such as the Communist Party of China from exerting undue influence on what he describes as “the Free State of Florida.”
The first bill prohibits companies owned by foreign countries like China, Cuba, or Russia from buying farmland or land near critical infrastructure in Florida. The second bill prohibits state universities from accepting gifts from the CCP or any other ‘foreign country of concern.’ Finally, the third bill, SB 258, bans the use of TikTok and other foreign-made apps on government and educational institution devices in the state of Florida.
“So if you’re trying to get on the WiFi or something with one of these CCP-backed apps, it’s not going to let you go and do that,” DeSantis said at the bill signing. “We think that’s appropriate because we think whatever utility these applications have is clearly outweighed by the benefit that the CCP gets from data mining and being able to collect information.”
These bills will take effect on July 1, essentially banning TikTok in Florida for state government and higher education-owned devices. Aside from prohibiting access to apps like TikTok, the law also seeks to prevent students from using wireless devices during ‘instructional time.’
TikTok is facing stiffer scrutiny across the United States as it faces bi-partisan pressure from Congress over its data security and privacy practices. Several states across the United States have taken the same steps that Florida has, banning TikTok on state government-owned devices. Some universities across the US are following suit—especially due to concerns issued by FBI Director Christopher Wray.
TikTok has been caught multiple times collecting the clipboard data of users, spying on journalists, and keeping an exhaustive list of words and concepts it considers sensitive that should be suppressed—including what it deems as keeping fat, ugly, and LGBT people from going viral in the ‘Discovery’ algorithm.