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TikTok already not allowed on state of Illinois devices

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* AP

The White House is giving all federal agencies 30 days to wipe TikTok off all government devices, as the Chinese-owned social media app comes under increasing scrutiny in Washington over security concerns.

The Office of Management and Budget calls the guidance, issued Monday, a “critical step forward in addressing the risks presented by the app to sensitive government data.” Some agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and State, already have restrictions in place; the guidance calls on the rest of the federal government to follow suit within 30 days. […]

Congress passed the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act” in December as part of a sweeping government funding package. The legislation does allow for TikTok use in certain cases, including for national security, law enforcement and research purposes.

TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter said Monday: “The ban of TikTok on federal devices passed in December without any deliberation, and unfortunately that approach has served as a blueprint for other world governments. These bans are little more than political theater.”

Canada and the European Union have also issued bans, as has India.

* CBS News

The directive from the Biden administration comes after the popular video app was banned by Congress on federal government devices in December, amid growing national security concerns that TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance could give access to user data to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

National security experts also fear that the CCP could use the app to spread misinformation and disinformation or manipulate the algorithm to control what users in the U.S. see. […]

Earlier this month, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said the Chinese government requires companies doing business there to turn over the keys to their data. […]

China blasted the ban on Tuesday. “We firmly oppose the wrong practice of the United States to generalize the concept of national security, abuse state power, and unreasonably suppress firms from other countries,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a regular news briefing, according to Agence France-Presse.

* I checked in with the governor’s office and was told that state devices here are not allowed to download any apps which aren’t on an approved list. TikTok, I’m told, is not on that list.

Even so, three identical Illinois House bills have been introduced to ban TikTok on state government devices. The three chief sponsors include two members of the Eastern Bloc, Reps. Chris Miller (R-No Relation) and Rep. Blaine Wilhour, and freshman GOP Rep. Jennifer Sanalitro….

Amends the Department of Innovation and Technology Act. Provides that the Department shall prohibit the use of TikTok on State devices by any State personnel or other person.

…Adding… From DoIT…

In Illinois, we have a policy that prevents apps and platforms that pose cybersecurity risks, without the need to explicitly call out every such possibility. This gives us the ability to move quickly in an ever-evolving cyber atmosphere. We additionally have software that prevents any downloading of such prohibited applications.

Here are the specific elements of the policy that prohibit the downloading or use of TikTok and other such applications.

    · Installing software that has not been authorized in writing by the requestor’s manager and an appropriate service request submitted to designated IT staff or Help Desk for processing.

    · Using IT Resources to play or download games, music or videos that are not in support of business functions.

* From the Guardian

Should we be more worried about TikTok than other apps?

It depends on whom you ask. Several digital privacy and civil advocacy groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Fight for the Future say while the potential for China to exploit access to TikTok is indeed concerning, other apps and services offer government entities, including in the US, similar access to user data.

“Unless we’re also [going to] ban Twitter and Facebook and YouTube and Uber and Grubhub, this is pointless,” said the Fight for the Future director, Evan Greer. “Yes, it’s possibly a bit easier for the Chinese government to gain access to data through TikTok than other apps, but there’s just so many ways governments can get data from apps.” […]

Like other privacy advocates, Diebold said that “policymakers should pursue more promising solutions that address the underlying risks.

“For example, to address data concerns, lawmakers should prioritize passing federal privacy legislation to protect consumer data that would explicitly require companies to disclose who they share data with and hold them accountable for those statements,” Diebold said.

Your thoughts?

* More background…


  1. - Early voter - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:08 am:

    These are the type of stories that drive people to commit more hate crimes against Asian American people.

  2. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:13 am:


    U of I is in a tricky spot on banning Tiktok because of all the Chinese foreign nationals who attend it, but probably should too.

  3. - Excitable Boy - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:13 am:

    Security concerns aside, I see no legitimate reason for anyone in state government to use TikTok on their work devices.

  4. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:15 am:

    ===TikTok on their work devices===

    Comms people in other states use it.

  5. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:17 am:

    @Early Voter

    TikTok is a company controlled by the Chinese govt. and the Chinese govt. does a lot of spying in the U.S. It is acting as an adversary of the U.S. in this regard.

    We can’t avoid confronting that reality just because the U.S. has many great people with an Asian background.

  6. - Excitable Boy - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:24 am:

    - Comms people in other states use it. -

    I could see that, I guess I’d be open to an exception or let a third party handle that.

  7. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:26 am:

    –other apps and services offer government entities, including in the US, similar access to user data.–

    As always, the problem is not with the tool. The problem is within the person using the tool.

    Anyone, including foreign companies and governments, can buy your ISP data on the open market. Right now.

    Always treat your internet activity as if it was plastered on a billboard along the interstate. For the average member of the public, privacy does not exist. It’s a neat holdover concept though. It’s going to take a generation or so for society to fully adjust to this.

  8. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:38 am:

    There are very few apps approved for use on federal devices. Installing and using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are restricted to comms personnel only. Having the actual app on a device requires approval… or should. Downloading and installing Uber and Grubhub apps on a federal device is not allowed for anyone. I have no problem with the ban on TikTok. Should never have been allowed on federal devices in the first place, unless an exemption for work was given, i.e. someone whose job involves monitoring security risks.

  9. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:42 am:

    ==was told that state devices here are not allowed to download any apps which aren’t on an approved list. ==

    That’s not quite true. You can’t download them on your own. You can seek permission to do so. Facebook isn’t allowed either but Comms people and others who have work reasons to have Facebook have gotten that installed on their state phones. So I’m not sure the “ban TikTok” bill is a total waste of time.

  10. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:46 am:

    Correction- Uber is on the approved list but not for every agency/mission area. Like the state, there is an application and approval process if a federal employee wants to petition to have a certain app on their device(s).

  11. - Suburban Mom - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 10:53 am:

    Are they banning other ByteDance-owned apps, or just TikTok? Like Lark, which is similar to slack and WIDELY used in SE Asia? Or their many video game properties? Everything I see is just TikTok, and no attention paid to other ByteDance properties.

  12. - Sangamo Girl - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 11:21 am:

    It is indeed political theater. Is TikTok problematic? Yes. Are there other apps, websites, uses that are problematic but not in the legislation? Yes. For better or worse, we have a centralized IT agency that employs engineers, project managers, programmers, and a host of other professionals whose job is the monitor the IT landscape for threats and trends. Let them do their work.

    And BTW, there are legit reasons for a lot of activities that “no state time should be wasted on.” The state is not a monolith of office drones pushing paper under the gimlet eye of a supervisor. It offers public health campaigns to young adults. It is the steward of museums and historic sites that work to draw visitors from around the world. It advertises jobs that it can’t fill. We need to meet folks where they are. So there are lots of reasons that staff other than comms folks might be using social media.

  13. - PMS - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 11:21 am:

    On my state issued iPhone we don’t even have an individual Apple ID or access to the App Store.

  14. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 11:29 am:

    === I see no legitimate reason for anyone in state government to use TikTok on their work devices.

    Not just comms, but any state agency that might be working with social media which is just about every part of government now. Banning it makes sense–you can use the browser interface if truly needed which still has security concerns, but is much better than an app itself.

  15. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 11:30 am:

    ===Are they banning other ByteDance-owned apps, or just TikTok?

    The app has to be specifically approved according to the policy so while you might check the list, a safe guess is no.

  16. - Appears - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 11:35 am:

    For those afraid of spying because of TikTok, maybe those people should find out where most of the electronics (cell phones, IPads, computers, etc.) come from. The answer: China.

  17. - Louis G Atsaves - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 12:12 pm:

    Have done a lot of overseas traveling the past few years. The locals insist on Viber, WhatsApp, Tiktok, all apps I had never heard of, but then again, my wife and I have no kids. If I wanted better communication with those I was meeting with overseas, and follow up communications when I returned home, then I needed to download, learn and use those apps.

    All the laws in the world to the contrary may be more feel good to the enactors, but I don’t see it stopping anything.

    Like AI, HAL has arrived.

  18. - Stuck in Celliniland - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 12:33 pm:

    Not just Tiptok, Facebook, and all the other social media sites are banned at least in my state office. Even Google Drive documents (which includes sometimes work-related stuff) are blocked. Also sports-related and entertainment sites are blocked too–even the basic NPR website.

  19. - ChrisB - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 12:43 pm:

    As someone who works in digital advertising, TikTok is by far the absolute worst in terms of what access they want to your data.

    Yeah, Facebook and Twitter don’t have great privacy protections, but TikTok is 10x worse.

  20. - MisterJayEm - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 12:59 pm:

    “Your thoughts?”

    Humans are very, very bad at balancing short-term pleasure versus long-term costs.

    – MrJM

  21. - Steve - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 1:00 pm:

    Rep. Gonzalez must be crushed

  22. - Cubs Win - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 1:09 pm:

    I’m fairly confident most of the Illinois public university marketing offices (and other campus departments) use TikTok on their state government equipment now as part of their recruiting efforts. If you want to recruit teenagers, you have to be where they are.

  23. - Give Us Barabbas - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 1:09 pm:

    This is why state workers carry two phones: the work-issued one, just for state business, and the personal, where your social media belongs.

  24. - Union thug - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 1:26 pm:

    Any DoIT issued iPhones do not allow adding an apple ID or access to the app store. They have an their own app store with pre approved apps for installation. To be able to install anything not available that was, need approval from the top security guy at DoIT.
    Getting access to any social media on anything requires special permission from DoIT for job duties. The filtering system they use is pretty good and getting better.

  25. - Matty - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 1:44 pm:

    No social media apps should ever be downloaded on a government owned phone. End of story.

  26. - Groucho - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 1:55 pm:

    I know of a major telecom company that will not use computers or other hardware and software made by companies that are Chinese controlled because these companies have been caught embedding spyware into both software and hardware.

  27. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 2:10 pm:

    ===No social media apps should ever be downloaded on a government owned phone. End of story.

    Quick, tell the National Weather Service not to use social media to save lives.

  28. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 28, 23 @ 2:57 pm:

    ==No social media apps should ever be downloaded on a government owned phone. ==

    There are reasons some have them. But thanks for yelling off of your front porch.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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