On Tuesday, Wisconsin’s Republican members of Congress called for the Democratic governor. Tony Evers called for the removal of TikTok’s video platform from all state government devices. He called it a threat to national security.
This request comes one week after South Dakota Governor. Kristi Noem (a Republican) banned state employees from accessing TikTok using state-owned devices. She cited its ties with China. Governor of South Carolina Henry McMaster, a Republican, banned TikTok on Monday from all state government devices.
Conservative circles are increasingly taking notice of the issue.
SOUTH DAKOTA GOVERNOR BANS TIKTOK FOR STATE AGENCIES, WARNING OF SECURITY THREAT
Last month, a conservative Heritage Foundation researcher called for the United States to ban TikTok’s operation in America. Last week, Chris Wray, FBI Director, stated that China could use the app for data collection on its users. This is part of growing concerns about the video-sharing app.
“Wisconsinites expect their Governor to be aware of dangerous national security threats TikTok presents and to protect them against this avenue for CCP Intelligence Operations,” stated the letter signed by U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher and Tom Tiffany and U.S. Reps. Bryan Steil, Glenn Grothman and Scott Fitzgerald.
Gallagher joined the U.S. last month. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida wrote an opinion piece urging governments to ban TikTok.
Britt Cudaback, Evers’ spokesperson, stated that the administration takes cybersecurity threats very seriously and consults regularly with the FBI and counterintelligence specialists whenever making decisions regarding state government devices.
Cudaback stated that they will continue to listen to the advice and judgment of cybersecurity experts, law enforcement and counterintelligence specialists regarding this and other emerging cybersecurity issues.
Cudaback criticized Republicans on Twitter for not speaking directly to the governor earlier.
“My favorite thing about Wisconsin Republicans’ (tilde), we want to work together(tilde), narrative is when they send an official, three-page letter that could have been a telephone call just so they leak news to the press and get stories such as this,” she stated in reference to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report which first reported on it. “In the spirit bipartisanship, ofcourse!”
Evers doesn’t have a TikTok account. Although he did use one during his campaign, it was prohibited by state law from being used for any other purpose.
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TikTok is owned by ByteDance , a Chinese company which moved its headquarters from China to Singapore in 2020. Republicans have accused the Chinese government of accessing user data such as browsing history, location, and other information. The app was also banned by the U.S. military.
TikTok has seen a huge rise in popularity thanks to its addictive scroll of videos. However, it has struggled to identify ads that include blatant misinformation regarding the U.S. election, according to a report by Global Witness and New York University’s Cybersecurity for Democracy team.
Vanessa Pappas is TikTok’s Chief Operating Officer and is based in Los Angeles. She stated that the company protects American users’ data and that no Chinese officials have access to it.
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The Trump administration issued broad-based orders to Chinese tech companies. However, President Joe Biden has reformed them and adopted a more narrow approach. The U.S. and company are currently in discussions about a possible deal that would address American security concerns.