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White House Orders Federal Agencies to Remove TikTok from Devices to Ensure U.S. Data Safety



White House Orders Federal Agencies to Remove TikTok from Devices to Ensure U.S. Data Safety

(CTN News) – On Monday, the White House directed federal agencies 30 days to remove the Chinese software TikTok from all government-owned devices and networks.

In a guidance memorandum seen by Reuters, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young instructed government agencies to delete TikTok from all phones and systems and block all internet traffic destined for the company to protect sensitive American information.

Congress mandated the ban at the end of last year, and it has since been followed by similar measures in Canada, the EU, Taiwan, and over half of the states in the United States.

Calls for Outright Ban on TikTok Amid National Security Concerns

While just a small percentage of TikTok’s U.S. users are affected by the gadget prohibition, it has added fuel to calls for a complete ban on the service.

As a Chinese balloon drifted over the United States a few weeks ago, fears over China’s national security have increased.

TikTok, owned by ByteDance, has disputed rumors that it is being used by the company to spy on American citizens and called the fears unfounded.

Over 100 million Americans use TikTok on personal or work devices unaffected by the action. Upon learning of the White House memo, TikTok did not respond immediately.

The Chinese-owned video app was targeted by lawmakers in December, who voted to forbid federal employees from accessing it on government-issued smartphones and gave the Biden administration 60 days to publish agency directions.

U.S. Congress Votes to Bar Federal Employees from Using TikTok on Government Devices

U.S. lawmakers have taken another step to restrict Chinese corporations over concerns that Beijing is using them to spy on Americans.

Federal Chief Information Security Officer Chris DeRusha said, “This guideline is part of the Administration’s continuous commitment to securing our digital infrastructure and preserving the security and privacy of the American people.”

TikTok has already been prohibited on government devices at the White House, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department before the vote.

As Young said in his memo, there are exceptions to the TikTok ban for national security, law enforcement, and security research activities, but these activities need to be approved by the agency’s leadership.

On Tuesday, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs will vote on a bill giving Vice President Joe Biden the right to remove TikTok from all U.S. devices.

The committee chair, Representative Michael McCaul, has stated that his bill allows the administration to ban TikTok and any other software apps that threaten U.S. national security.

“If you have TikTok installed on your device, the Chinese Communist Party now has unfettered access to all your data. It’s like someone floated a spy balloon inside their phone.”

The ACLU has spoken out against any attempts to ban TikTok in Congress.

TikTok Ban in Canada and EU Over Privacy and Security Concerns

According to the White House memo, agencies have 90 days to address TikTok use by IT providers through contracts, and agencies have 120 days to include a new limitation on TikTok in all new solicitations.

Canada stated on Monday that the popular video-sharing app TikTok would be removed from government-issued devices due to the “unacceptable” risk it poses to users’ personal information and national security.

Canadian authorities “did not provide a specific security concern or reach out to us with queries,” according to a representative from TikTok.

Last Monday, for reasons related to cybersecurity, the EU’s two largest policymaking organizations banned TikTok from employee phones.

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