March 26, 2023

USA: White House gives 30 days to ban TikTok from federal agencies | world

Mobile phone on notebook keyboard with TikTok app logo – Image: Dado Ruvic/Illustration/REUTERS

On Monday (27th), the White House gave government agencies 30 days to ban TikTok from US federal agencies.

In an effort to keep US data safe, all US federal agencies should remove TikTok from phones and systems and block internet traffic from the agencies from reaching the Chinese company, said Shalanda Young, director of the US Office of Management and Budget. agencies in the guidance note. Reuters was able to view the document.

The ban, ordered by Congress late last year, follows similar measures by Canada, the European Union and Taiwan, as well as more than half of US states.

The device ban affects a small portion of TikTok’s user base in the US and is adding fuel to calls for an outright ban on the video-sharing app.

National security concerns about China have increased in recent weeks after a Chinese balloon flew over the United States.

TikTok, which is owned by ByteDance, said the concerns were fueled by misinformation and denied using the app to spy on Americans. The action does not affect the more than 100 million Americans who use TikToke on private or company-owned devices. As of the report’s publication, TikTok has not commented on the White House memo.

Congress voted in December to ban federal employees from using the Chinese-owned video app on government devices and to give the Biden administration 60 days to issue the agency’s guidelines. The vote was the latest move by US lawmakers to crack down on Chinese companies amid national security concerns that Beijing could use them to spy on Americans.

Federal Director of Information Security Chris DeRocha said, “This directive is part of the government’s continued commitment to protecting our digital infrastructure and protecting the security and privacy of the American people.”

Several government agencies including the White House, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and Department of State banned TikTok from government agencies ahead of the vote.

Young’s memo said the TikToka ban does not apply if there are activities related to national security, law enforcement, or security research, but those activities must be approved by agency leadership, and “general exceptions applicable to an entire agency are not permitted.”

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to vote on Tuesday on a bill that would give President Joe Biden the power to ban TikTok from all US devices.

“The bill I submitted authorizes the government to ban TikTok or any software applications that threaten the national security of the United States,” said Rep. Mike McCaul, the committee chair. “Anyone who has TikTok downloaded to their device has given (the Chinese Communist Party) a backdoor to all their personal information. It’s a spy balloon on their phone.”

The American Civil Liberties Union said it opposes a congressional ban on TikTok.

The White House memo said that within 90 days, the agencies must process any use of TikTok by IT vendors through contracts, and with the agencies, 120 days would include a new TikTok ban on all new orders.

On Monday, Canada announced a ban on TikTok from government agencies, saying it presented an “unacceptable” level of risk to privacy and security, adding to a growing divide between the two countries.

A TikTok spokesperson said the Canadian ban was issued “without citing any specific safety concerns or contacting us with questions.”

The EU’s two largest policy-making institutions last week banned TikTok from employees’ phones on cybersecurity grounds.