Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly banned the popular video app TikTok from all government-owned devices Wednesday, citing national security concerns.
The governor enacted the ban by signing an executive order to prohibit the use of TikTok on all devices owned by Kansas government agencies. The order also requires the agencies and commissions to place limitations on the ability to access the social media app on state-leased devices.
“Due to potential security and privacy risks associated with TikTok, after consultation with the Office of Information Technology Services (OITS), it is the best interest of Kansas citizens that we prohibit the use of the TikTok platform on state-owned devices and prohibit access through the state network,” the governor wrote in the order.
Laura Kelly signs order to ban TikTok from Kansas executive branch devices https://t.co/thCpDRHNKe
— Bryan Lowry (@BryanLowry3) December 28, 2022
She encouraged statewide elected officials, universities and the legislative and judicial branches to adopt similar policies to prevent user data from being shared with Chinese state actors. The FBI and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have warned that TikTok data is being shard with the Chinese government through its Chinese-owned company, ByteDance.
ByteDance is required to comply with the 2015 National Security Law of the People’s Republic of China, which mandates that private companies share user data with the Chinese government upon request. The app has over 94 million users in the United States.
Governors across the U.S. have taken similar actions to protect against the potential dangers to national security. Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem issued a Nov. 29 executive order banning the app from all state and government agencies. On Monday, Louisiana’s executive branch implemented a similar ban with the approval of Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, according to the Independent.
“The Chinese Communist Party uses information that it gathers on TikTok to manipulate the American people, and they gather data off the devices that access the platform,” Noem said. (RELATED: China Is Attempting To Influence US Kids By Offering An ‘Opium Version’ Of TikTok, Expert Says)
Lawmakers at the federal level have pushed for a national ban on app. Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher introduced legislation in both chambers of Congress to federally ban the use of TikTok. On Dec. 15, the Senate unanimously passed legislation introduced by Rubio and fellow Republican Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Rick Scott of Florida to ban the app from government-issued devices.
Former President Donald Trump attempted to ban TikTok nationwide in Aug. 2020, but a court issued an injunction blocking the ban.
In June 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order revoking Trump’s attempted ban.