Kelly bans TikTok from state-owned devices in executive branch, says information could be leaked to China

by Rachel Mipro, Kansas Reflector

Topeka — Citing security concerns, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly banned TikTok from all state-owned devices in the executive branch and prohibited access to the social media platform on the state network

Kelly signed an executive order banning it Wednesday, saying she was concerned about the security risks the app poses. TikTok’s parent company is run by a Chinese-owned company and has been under increased scrutiny in over the last month or so, with the FBI warning that user data is potentially being shared with the Chinese government.

Congress recently implemented a TikTok ban on federal devices in the House of Representatives, with some lawmakers in the Senate calling for a complete ban throughout the United States. Several states — including Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska — have security policies covering TikTok in place.

The ban applies to all state-owned devices in the executive branch agencies, boards and commissions. Kelly said she encouraged other state entities, such as the Board of Regents, the Office of the Attorney General and the legislative branch, to follow her lead.

“Today, I am taking common-sense steps to protect Kansans’ privacy and security,” Kelly said in a news release. “TikTok mines users’ data and potentially makes it available to the Chinese Communist Party — a threat recognized by a growing group of bipartisan leaders across the United States.”

Under the order, active official State of Kansas TikTok accounts will be removed, along with any TikTok applications on state-owned devices. Agencies have 30 days to begin blocking TikTok, and access to the TikTok website from state-managed networks will be blocked, with mechanisms put into place to prevent future app installation.

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