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Maryland Governor Bans The Use Of TikTok On State-Owned Devices

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Maryland Governor Bans The Use Of TikTok On State-Owned Devices

(CTN NEWS) – Governor Larry Hogan announced on Tuesday that Maryland would ban the use of TikTok and some other platforms with Chinese or Russian roots in the state’s executive arm of government.

This makes Maryland the latest state to confront the cybersecurity threats posed by the platforms.

According to the Republican governor, the platforms might be used for cyberespionage, government monitoring, and the improper acquisition of sensitive personal data.

He, therefore, issued an emergency cybersecurity edict that forbade their usage.

Maryland Governor Bans The Use Of TikTok On State-Owned Devices

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition on November 18, 2022.

Hogan stated that “the cyber vulnerabilities that enable our daily lives may be the greatest threat to our safety and national security”.

And that “we are issuing this emergency directive against foreign actors and groups that aim to weaken and divide us.”

The Maryland order comes a week after South Dakota’s Republican governor, Kristi Noem, forbade state workers and contractors from using TikTok on state-owned devices, citing the app’s connections to China.

Republican Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina requested on Monday that TikTok be removed from all state-owned devices from the state’s Department of Administration.

In August 2020, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts disabled TikTok on government-owned technology.

According to the U.S. armed forces, the app is also not allowed on military devices.

Holden Triplett, a former FBI government officer who worked in Beijing in counterintelligence, is a co-founder of Trenchcoat Advisors. “It is a risk that most governments are starting to understand it’s not worth taking,” he said.

Although there is a substantial discussion regarding whether the Chinese government is actively gathering data from TikTok, Triplett claimed that the programme has a glaring vulnerability.

ByteDance, the business that owns TikTok, must accede to any prospective requests by Chinese security and intelligence agencies for data handover because it is a Chinese corporation, he added.

This data may include the whereabouts and contacts of employees.

In 2020, ByteDance relocated its corporate headquarters there.

According to a recent analysis from the NGO Global Witness and the Cybersecurity for Democracy team at New York University, TikTok has struggled to identify advertising that contains blatantly false information about U.S. elections.

The worries regarding driving restrictions, according to TikTok spokeswoman Jamal Brown, “are mostly motivated by a misunderstanding about our firm.”

“To address our privacy and security procedures, we are always pleased to meet with state policymakers, according to Brown.”

“We are disappointed that many state offices, agencies, and colleges utilizing TikTok to create communities and communicate with their people will no longer have access to our platform.”

According to Los Angeles-based TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas, all American users’ data is protected by the company, and no one from the Chinese government can access it.

Tuesday also saw Republican lawmakers from Wisconsin ask Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to remove the video platform TikTok from all state-owned devices, citing a threat to national security.

Maryland Governor Bans The Use Of TikTok On State-Owned Devices

Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers makes his acceptance speech on November 9, 2022.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher, Tom Tiffany, Glenn Grothman, Bryan Steil, and Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a letter that:

“Wisconsinites expect their governor to be aware of the dangerous national security threats TikTok gestures and to defend them from this avenue for CCP intelligence operations.”

Last month, Gallagher collaborated with Florida’s U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio on an opinion post urging governments to outlaw TikTok.

Britt Cudaback, a spokesperson for Evers, said the administration “very seriously” considers cybersecurity issues.

And frequently works with counterintelligence experts, the FBI, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security when making decisions about state government equipment.

Regarding this and other developing cybersecurity issues, Cudaback said, “We will continue to defer to the judgement and advice of law enforcement, cybersecurity, and counterintelligence specialists.”

The White House under President Joe Biden has replaced the broad-based directives that former President Donald Trump issued against Chinese internet companies with a more focused strategy.

Officials from the United States and the corporation are negotiating a potential deal to allay American security worries.

Last month, a researcher with the conservative Heritage Foundation urged elected officials to forbid TikTok from ever again operating in the United States.

Additionally, FBI Director Chris Wray stated last week that China might use the app to gather user data that could be utilized for conventional espionage activities.

However, other experts believe the threat is exaggerated.

James A. Lewis, a veteran diplomat and cybersecurity specialist, stated in a statement for the Strategic Technologies Program on November 14 that the harm to national security posed by TikTok is “easily overblown.”

According to Lewis, “intelligence organizations often trawl social media to gather biographical data; they are not required to own TikTok (or any other social media platform) to carry out this activity.”

“How much more does China get through access to TikTok data that is not made available to the general public? There may be some advantages, but it is probably minimal.”

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