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TikTok Banned from US House and Federal Devices

Updated on 2022-12-28: TikTok Banned from US House Mobile Devices

The US House of Representatives Chief Administrative Office (CAO) has banned the use of TikTok on House-managed devices. At least 19 US states have already banned the app from government devices. In addition, the federal omnibus spending bill includes a provision banning TikTok from all government-managed devices.

Note

  • Any organization should limit the attack surface of mobile devices by limiting the number of applications installed. This doesn’t just affect TikTok, but many application with unclear provenance should be avoided in particular if they collect sensitive information or have access to sensors on the mobile device.
  • You should be assessing the risk of applications on devices processing corporate data, prohibiting those which pose unacceptable levels of risk. Make sure you understand who has access to data, where it’s stored, as well as what permissions the apps are granted. Pay close attention to BYOD use cases because you do not own those devices and you’re legally on thin ice placing restrictions, so you’ll need solutions which both isolate and track corporate data which also allow you to remotely wipe that information.
  • ​​​​​​​The concern over TikTok is rooted in the ownership of the enterprise but all social network systems create and exploit sensitive personal information that would not even exist but for them. There is a systemic risk that this information will be abused by the nation states in which those systems are domiciled.

Overview: TikTok banned on US federal devices

The US government has banned federal employees from installing the TikTok app on government devices. So has the US House of Representatives, meaning US lawmakers won’t be allowed to install the app on their government-provided devices.

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Carr Welcomes TikTok Ban on Federal Devices
Urges Administration to Complete Broader TikTok Review

WASHINGTON, DC, December 23, 2022—Today, the United States Congress passed a bill that will ban TikTok from federal devices. President Biden is expected to sign this ban into law. Commissioner Carr issued the following statement welcoming this action:

“TikTok has been engaged in a multi-year campaign to mislead U.S. officials and the American public alike about the unique and unacceptable threats the app poses to our national security and to the health and welfare of our families. That campaign is now being exposed as nothing short of gaslighting. So I welcome this important, bipartisan win in the broader effort to address TikTok’s dangers.

“Today’s action only highlights the need for Administration officials to wrap up their ongoing review of TikTok with the speed and urgency that this national security threat demands. It has been widely reported that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which is housed inside the Treasury Department, has been debating whether it should bless TikTok’s continued operations by moving forward with a preliminary agreement it reached with TikTok over the summer. Since that preliminary agreement was first reported, a broad and bipartisan cross-section of national security officials have spoken out publicly regarding the dangers of TikTok. In my view, cutting a deal with TikTok would be a serious mistake. We cannot take that kind of risk when it comes to America’s national security.

“Indeed, while TikTok has been in the middle of negotiations with Administration officials—when it has had the strongest possible incentives to operate in a trustworthy manner—here is just a sample of the activities it has engaged in. TikTok’s parent company and its personnel inside China used the app to surveil the locations of journalists that worked on stories highlighting TikTok’s national security risks. TikTok accounts run by the CCP’s propaganda arm targeted and ran misinformation campaigns about specific U.S. politicians ahead of our recent midterm elections—all while TikTok shielded those accounts’ links to the Chinese Communist Party. TikTok officials also engaged in clandestine efforts to determine specific details about the Oracle servers that were part of the mitigation measures that CFIUS has been considering, including the locations of those servers.

“I can understand why U.S. officials do not want to cut a deal that will result in them owning all of TikTok’s malign conduct. But it is time to complete the CFIUS review. Every day that this drags on is another day that Americans are left exposed to the unique threats posed by TikTok.”

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Office of Commissioner Brendan Carr
www.fcc.gov/about/leadership/brendan-carr Media Contact: Greg Watson
(202) 418-0658 or [email protected]

Source: Carr Welcomes TikTok Ban on Federal Devices

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