Utah Gov. Spencer Cox Bans TikTok For Government Employees

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James Lynch Reporter
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Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox announced Monday the state is banning TikTok on all state-owned devices.

“Our administration takes security threats by China and China-based entities seriously. This is why we’re banning TikTok on all state-owned devices effective immediately,” Cox wrote to Twitter.

“China’s access to data collected by TikTok presents a threat to our cybersecurity,” the governor said in a press release. “As a result, we’ve deleted our TikTok account and ordered the same on all state-owned devices. We must protect Utahns and make sure that the people of Utah can trust the state’s security systems.”

Utah’s TikTok ban follows multiple other states, including Texas and Maryland, that have banned the platform from state devices for national security reasons. South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem banned TikTok for employees with a Nov. 28 executive order, while Republican Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts prohibited the use of the app on state-issued devices in August 2020. (RELATED: ‘Threat Posed By The CCP’: States Are Taking Action Against Chinese-Influenced TikTok)

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a China-based company that planned on using data from TikTok to conduct surveillance on U.S. citizens, according to Forbes.

Nonpublic user data from Americans on TikTok has repeatedly been accessed in China, according to leaked audio of 80 internal TikTok meetings obtained by BuzzFeed News. The web browser used within the app is capable of monitoring users’ keystrokes, which could enable TikTok to collect sensitive personal information and track users’ online habits, The New York Times reported in August.

An ongoing national security review of TikTok by the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has been delayed due to additional concerns raised by U.S. officials about the platform’s recommendation algorithm and TikTok’s trustworthiness. (RELATED: Biden State Dept Not Very Fired Up Over Foreign Influence In Elections That Went Well For Democrats)

FBI Director Chris Wray told the House Homeland Security Committee on Nov. 15 that he is “extremely concerned” about TikTok operating in the U.S., because of the possibility China is collecting data on U.S. users.

TikTok did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment. A spokesperson for Gov. Cox directed the Daily Caller to the above press release in response to a request for comment.