Texas joins other states banning TikTok on government entities over China’s espionage fears | USA | News
TikTok has been banned from public devices in the state of Texas, following concerns about how the Chinese-owned app handles user data.
Gov. Abbott rallied against the app in a letter to Texas officials on Wednesday, claiming the app is “harvesting” vast amounts of user data.
“TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from users’ devices — including when, where and how they conduct internet activity — and offers this collection of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government,” Abbott said.
The app is facing increasing scrutiny over fears that sensitive US user data could be handed over to the Chinese government.
In a case that marks the first state lawsuit against the app, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita sued TikTok on Wednesday for allegedly misleading users about Beijing’s ability to access their data, as well as for allegedly showing adult content to minors.
“While we do not comment on pending litigation, the safety, privacy and security of our community is our top priority,” TikTok said in a statement to ABC News. “We’re building youth wellness into our policies, limiting features by age, empowering parents with tools and resources, and continuing to invest in new ways to enjoy content based on age appropriateness or family comfort.”
It added: “We are also confident that we are on track in our negotiations with the US government to satisfy all reasonable US national security concerns, and we have already made significant progress towards implementing these solutions.”
On Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan took similar action against TikTok as well as Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE, banning the companies from spending on government business and entities.
TikTok said it believed the bans were “largely driven by misinformation about our company” and that it was happy to continue having “constructive meetings” with policymakers.
Last month, an official at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) called on US authorities to ban the platform.
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The Biden administration and TikTok have penned a tentative agreement to address national security concerns from the app, but hurdles remain, according to a September report in the New York Times.
Other stories in the media recently have cast doubt on the security of US user data regarding the app.
Buzzfeed reported in June that TikTok engineers based in China gained access to US user data, including phone numbers, while Forbes reported in October that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance intended to access some user information.
In 2020, the Trump administration attempted to ban TikTok, asking ByteDance to sell the app to an American company. However, the sale never happened and TikTok remains owned by ByteDance.