While the Chinese-owned social media app is increasingly scrutinized in Washington due to security concerns, the White House has given all federal agencies 30 days to remove TikTok from all government devices.
Some agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State, already have restrictions; the guidance asks the rest of the federal government to do the same within 30 days.
The Office of Management and Budget calls the guidance, released on Monday, a “critical step forward in addressing the risks presented by the app to sensitive government data.”
TikTok is already not permitted on White House devices.
According to Chris DeRusha, the federal chief information security officer, “the Biden-Harris Administration has aggressively invested in securing our nation’s digital infrastructure and limiting access to Americans’ data by foreign adversaries.”
This advice is a part of the administration’s ongoing efforts to secure our digital infrastructure and safeguard the privacy and security of American citizens.
Reuters was the first to report on the advice.
Congress passed the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act” in December as part of a comprehensive government budget agreement. The law permits the use of TikTok in specific circumstances, such as law enforcement, research, and national security.
“The ban of TikTok on federal devices passed in December without any debate, and regrettably, that approach has acted as a template for other governments across the world,” said Brooke Oberwetter, a spokesman for TikTok, on Monday.
These restrictions are merely political theater.
A bill granting Biden the authority to outlaw TikTok nationally is anticipated to move forward in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Rep. Michael McCaul’s measure seeks to avoid the legal obstacles the administration would have if it pursued sanctions on the social media company.
If approved, the proposal would allow the administration to ban any software program that poses a risk to national security, not only TikTok.
The software is being used by the Chinese Communist Party to “manipulate and monitor its users as it gobbles up Americans’ data to be exploited for their malicious purposes,” according to McCaul, the chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee.
Any user with TikTok installed on their smartphone has granted the CCP access to all their personal data. In a statement on Monday, the Texas Republican said that the device was a spy balloon for your phone.
His colleague in the Senate, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, did not rule out the possibility of the chamber debating a plan that would empower Biden to take action against TikTok, saying it was “certainly something to consider.”
Oberwetter said: “We hope that Congress would investigate options that won’t have the effect of silencing the voices of millions of Americans when it comes to resolving national security concerns about TikTok beyond government computers.
Two-thirds of youths in the United States use TikTok, owned by ByteDance Ltd. Yet, there is growing concern that Beijing might seize control of the user data the app has collected from Americans.
The corporation has been dismissive of the prohibition for federal devices and has stated that it is establishing security and data privacy plans as part of the Biden administration’s continuing national security study.
On Monday, Canada also declared that it was removing TikTok from any mobile devices provided by the government.
The executive branch of the European Union announced last week that TikTok had been temporarily removed from employee phones as a security precaution.