Republican Governor Greg Abbott has banned the Chinese Communist Party-linked app TikTik from all devices used by Texas state officials.
“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,” Gov. Abbott said.
The five-part Model Security Plan for Prohibited Technologies introduced by Abbott involves preventing the download or use of TikTok.
It also bans “prohibited technologies” that pose a threat to the state of Texas.
This applies to “all state agencies and institutions of higher education (IHEs), including their employees, contractors, interns, or any users of state-owned networks.”
“Other prohibited technologies listed in the statewide model plan also produce a similar threat to the security of Texans,” the governor remarked.
“It is critical that state agencies and employees are protected from the vulnerabilities presented by the use of this app and other prohibited technologies as they work on behalf of their fellow Texans,” he added.
Any device that is connected to the Internet is included in the ban.
Every institution’s IT department is expected to “strictly enforce” it.
As well, any employee or contractor to the state is prohibited from conducting state business on any device that contains prohibited technologies.
For anyone who must use a personal device for state-contracted work, the governor’s office has outlined a “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program” in the directive.
The plan also requires sensitive locations, meetings, and personnel within an agency to be identified and subsequently shielded from any personal devices with the prohibited technology.
Personal devices are essentially banned in certain sensitive areas.
The governor continued:
“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.”
The state plan offers a few limited exceptions to the ban.
Federal lawmakers are also proposing a national ban on TikTok for any device in the United States, after passing the No TikTok on Government Devices Act in December 2022.