REUTERS – WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 On Monday, it was announced that New Jersey and Ohio would be banning the use of the popular video app TikTok on devices managed by the state or local government.
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Democratic New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said that in addition to blocking the short-video app owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance from state devices, he was also blocking software vendors, products, and services from more than a dozen vendors, such as Huawei, Hikvision (002415. SZ), Tencent Holdings (0700. HK), ZTE Corporation (000063. SZ), and Kaspersky Lab.
In a statement, Murphy’s office said, “there have been national security concerns about user data the Chinese government might require ByteDance to provide.”
Ohio’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine, issued an executive order stating that “these covert data privacy and cybersecurity practices pose national and local security and cybersecurity threats to users of these applications and platforms and the devices storing these applications and platforms.”
Taking to Twitter, TikTok expressed its “disappointment that so many states are jumping on the political bandwagon to enact policies that will do nothing to advance cybersecurity in their states and are based on unfounded falsehoods about TikTok.”
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced on Friday that he would be joining other states in banning the use of the video app, which has more than 100 million users in the United States.
Some Democratic governors have been slower to ban TikTok from state devices, but Republicans have taken the lead.
After US FBI Director Christopher Wray said in November that TikTok poses national security risks, calls to ban it from government devices gained traction.
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Wray warned of the potential for the Chinese government to use the app to sway users’ opinions or take control of their gadgets.
According to a Reuters report from last Friday, TikTok has halted the process of hiring consultants who would help it implement a potential security agreement with the United States, according to two people familiar with the matter. This comes as more U.S. officials express opposition to such a deal.
For the past three years, TikTok has been trying to convince the U.S. government that the Chinese Communist Party and other organizations under Beijing’s influence cannot access or manipulate the personal data of its users in the United States.