Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced executive actions against Tiktok and several other Chinese entities Tuesday, going beyond the efforts of other Republicans who have taken similar actions in recent weeks.
Hogan’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) issued an emergency cybersecurity directive prohibiting the use of certain Chinese- and Russian-associated entities on any state devices or networks. The ban includes Tiktok, Huawei, WeChat, Alibaba and more.
Today, the State of Maryland is issuing an emergency cybersecurity directive to prohibit the use of certain Chinese and Russian-influenced products and platforms in state government—including TikTok.
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) December 6, 2022
“There may be no greater threat to our personal safety and our national security than the cyber vulnerabilities that support our daily lives,” Hogan said. “As the cyber capital of America, Maryland has taken bold and decisive actions to prepare for and address cybersecurity threats. To further protect our systems, we are issuing this emergency directive against foreign actors and organizations that seek to weaken and divide us.”
Whether or not to ban Tiktok has become an increasingly important question in conservative circles in recent months, as the application’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party and potential use for spying have been further revealed. In the span of just a few years, it has become one of the most popular video sharing platforms in the world, particularly among teenagers.
Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem banned Tiktok from state government devices last week, and several executive agencies at the federal level have done the same. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are working to rein in the application’s reach as well. (RELATED: REPORT: Biden Admin Delays TikTok National Security Deal)
Hogan went one step further, targeting not only Tiktok, but other Chinese and Russian-influenced programs as well. Alibaba is a major corporation known as the Chinese counterpart to Amazon. WeChat is a popular social media service used in the country somewhat akin to Twitter, and Huawei is China’s leading telecom company.
The bans could prove to be one of Hogan’s final major policy initiatives while in office as Maryland’s governor. He will leave the post next month due to being term-limited, with the governor’s mansion falling back into Democratic hands after Wes Moore defeated Trump-backed Dan Cox in November. There has been heavy speculation that Hogan will throw his hat in the ring for the 2024 presidential campaign, but no decision has been announced yet.