Gov. Cox issues TikTok ban on state-owned devices

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FILE – Gov. Spencer Cox speaks during a news conference on Aug. 31, 2021, in Salt Lake City. Gov. Cox banned TikTok from all state-owned devices on Dec. 12. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox issued an executive order to ban TikTok from all state-owned devices on Dec. 12.

The press release states that the order will take effect immediately and “agency or agency employees may not, on any state-owned electronic device, download or use the TikTok application or visit any TikTok website.”

The order applies to departments, divisions, offices, bureaus and other organizations within the state executive branch. However, it does not include the State Board of Education, the Legislative Branch, or the Judicial Branch among others.

(@GovCox via Twitter)

Gov. Cox’s administration takes security threats by China and China-based entities seriously, Gov. Cox said in a tweet on Monday.

“China’s access to data collected by TikTok presents a threat to our cybersecurity,” Gov. Cox said. “As a result, we’ve deleted our TikTok account and ordered the same on all state-owned devices.”

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a company headquartered in China. Chinese national security laws allow the Chinese government to compel China-based companies to provide them with data, the executive order states. According to the order, ByteDance has refused to cut off user data flows to China or China-based employees.

The data may also include personal data, intellectual property or proprietary information of users in the U.S. and Utah, according to the press release.

“We must protect Utahns and make sure the people of Utah can trust the state’s security systems,” Gov. Cox said.

Gov. Cox’s full executive order can be found here.

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