(Reuters) – Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Thursday signed an order banning TikTok on government-owned and operated devices over cybersecurity concerns, joining other states and the federal government in banning the use of TikTok. the popular video app.
In addition to banning Chinese-owned TikTok from state devices, the Democratic governor said he was banning vendors, products and services from nine companies, including Huawei Technologies, Hikvision, Tencent Holdings, ZTE Corporation and Kaspersky Lab.
“In the digital age, defending our state’s technology and cybersecurity infrastructure and protecting digital privacy must be a top priority for us as a state,” Evers said.
More than 20 other states also banned TikTok from state devices, including Ohio, New Jersey and Arkansas earlier this week.
TikTok said it was “disappointed that so many states are jumping on the political bandwagon to adopt policies that will do nothing to advance cybersecurity in their states and are based on baseless lies about TikTok.”
Republican governors have led the charge to ban TikTok from state devices and some Democratic governors have been slower to do so.
Calls to ban TikTok from government devices gained momentum after US FBI Director Christopher Wray said in November it posed national security risks. Wray reported the threat that the Chinese government could exploit the app to influence users or control their devices.
For three years, TikTok has sought to assure Washington that the personal data of American citizens is not accessible and that its content cannot be manipulated by the Chinese Communist Party or any other entity under the influence of Beijing.
Last month, President Joe Biden signed into law a government funding bill that prohibited federal employees from using or downloading TikTok on government-owned devices.
The law gives the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 60 days “to develop standards and guidelines for executive agencies requiring the removal” of TikTok from federal devices. The OMB declined to comment Thursday.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lincoln Feast.)
Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.
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