Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced a plan that would effectively ban social media app TikTok from all state-issued devices.
This week, Gov. Abbott shared a statewide model security plan for state agencies throughout Texas that he says will “address vulnerabilities presented by the use of TikTok and other software on personal and state-issued devices“.
The Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Department of Information Resources devised the strategy to instruct state agencies on how to manage personal and government-issued devices used for state business following a directive from Gov. Abbott that was released back in December 2022 (via CBS DFW).
“The security risks associated with the use of TikTok on devices used to conduct the important business of our state must not be underestimated or ignored,” said Gov. Abbott in a statement.
“Owned by a Chinese company that employs Chinese Communist Party members, TikTok harvests significant amounts of data from a user’s device, including details about a user’s internet activity,” he added. “Other prohibited technologies listed in the statewide model plan also produce a similar threat to the security of Texans.”
According to Gov. Abbott’s order, state agencies across Texas will have until Feb. 15 of this year to put in place their own respective guidelines enforcing the state-wide ban of the popular social media app.
The statewide model security plan outlined a number of objectives that each state agency is expected to fulfill.
These objectives include: banning and preventing employees from downloading or using TikTok on any state-issued devices (including cell phones, laptops, desktop computers, etc.); barring employees or contractors from conducting state business on prohibited technology-enabled personal devices; identifying locations, meetings or personnel that could be exposed to personal devices with prohibited technologies; executing network-based restrictions to prevent banned technologies; as well as working with information security professionals to continuously update the prohibited technologies list.
In addition to TikTok, other prohibited software cited in the plan includes Kaspersky, WeChat, Tencent Holdings Ltd., Alipay and more. The plan also mentions that numerous hardware manufacturers would be banned as well, including Huawei Technologies Company and ZTE Corporation, among others.
In Dec. 2022, Collin County decided to ban TikTok on government devices.