South Carolina Gov Bans State Employees From Using TikTok Over National Security Concerns

The flag of the People's Republic of China flies in the wind above the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in San Francisco, California on July 23, 2020. - The US Justice Department announced July 23, 2020 the indictments of four Chinese researchers it said lied about their ties to the People's Liberation Army, with one escaping arrest by taking refuge in the country's San Francisco consulate. (Photo by Philip Pacheco / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP PACHECO/AFP via Getty Images)

On Monday, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (R) took action to make his state the second in the country to ban state employees’ electronic devices from using TikTok as federal officials warn about the Chinese-based social media app’s threat to national security.

In a letter to South Carolina Department of Administration Director Marcia Adams, Governor McMaster requested “that the social media platform TikTok be permanently removed, and access blocked from all state government electronic devices that are managed by the Department of Administration.”

“Protecting our State’s critical cyber infrastructure from foreign and domestic threats is key to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens and businesses,” he continued. “Federal law enforcement and national security officials have warned that TikTok poses a clear and present danger to its users, and a growing bi-partisan coalition in Congress is pushing to ban access to TikTok in the United States.”

“The General Assembly has recognized the dangers and inefficiencies of our State’s ‘siloed’ cyber infrastructure and has encouraged state agencies to partner with the department. This partnership allows the State’s cyber infrastructure to be maintained and managed in a comprehensive and cohesive fashion,” he added. “Unfortunately, there are a number of state agencies who continue to operate in a silo. I ask that you provide my office with a listing of state agencies for whom the department is unable to permanently block access to TikTok.”

The news comes weeks after FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that he is “extremely concerned” about TikTok’s operations in the United States.

“We do have national security concerns, obviously from the FBI’s end, about TikTok,” Wray told the House Homeland Security Committee in a hearing. “They include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users, or control the recommendation algorithm which could be used for influence operations if they so choose, or to control software on millions of devices.”

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