South Dakota Governor Christy Nome has ordered all state employees and contractors to stop using TikTok on their government-issued devices. The Chinese government used it to collect the personal information of Americans.
“The order is in response to the growing national security threat posed by TikTok due to data collection activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” according to a press release issued by Noem’s office.
“South Dakota will have no role in the intelligence-gathering activities of countries that hate us,” Noem, a rising Republican star mentioned as a 2024 presidential candidate, was quoted as saying.
“The Chinese Communist Party is using the information it collects on TikTok to manipulate the American public, and they collect data from devices accessing the site.”
TikTok and the Chinese government have been asked for comment.
TikTok, owned by Beijing-based tech company Byte Dance, has grown in popularity in recent years, particularly among Gen Z millennials who have migrated away from dominant social media rivals like Facebook and Instagram.
TikTok is estimated to have more than 700 million active users worldwide – about 100 million of whom are in the US, an astronomical figure considering that the app had just 11 million US users in 2018. According to CNBC.
But the app’s governance structure has caused consternation in Congress, where lawmakers have expressed concern that the Chinese government’s influence over tech companies could allow access to Americans’ online user data.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R – Wis.) has called for a nationwide ban on TikTok. He told Fox News on Sunday that TikTok was like digital fentanyl, “addicting our kids.”
“Like real fentanyl, it ultimately goes to the Chinese Communist Party,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher added: “TikTok is owned by ByteDance and ByteDance is controlled by CCP. That means the CCP can track your location, it can track your keystrokes, it can censor your messages — why give our archenemy so much power?”
ByteDance and TikTok have long denied allegations of spying on behalf of the Chinese government.
TikTok is in talks with the Biden administration about a possible divestment from Byte Dance that would allow the app to continue operating in the U.S., despite user privacy concerns.
Earlier this month, FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers The agency has “national security concerns” about allowing TikTok to continue operating in the United States.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr went further and called on the Biden administration to formally ban TikTok for alleged national security risks.
“I don’t believe there is a way forward for anything other than obstruction” Carr told Axios.
“There’s no world where you can put enough security on data that you can be confident enough that it’s not getting back into your hands,” Carr said. [Chinese Communist Party].”
Although the FCC does not have regulatory authority over TikTok, the Republican commissioner said the Council on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an intergovernmental panel that reviews foreign investment in the country, should try to enforce the ban.
In June, Carr wrote letters to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, urging both executives to ban TikTok. from respective app stores.
Letter of car A bombshell mentions June’s report BuzzFeed News, citing leaked audio recordings from dozens of meetings, suggested Beijing-based ByteDance’s access to US data was more extensive than previously known.
A TikTok director described the ByteDance engineer in China as a “master admin” who had “access to everything” in a September 2021 meeting.
Additional reporting by Thomas Barabi
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