CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — According to a release from the Texas Governor's office, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order banning the use of TikTok on all Texas state agencies government-issued devices.
This includes cell phones, laptops, tablets, desktop computers, and other devices capable of Internet connection.
This move is said to be strictly enforced by the agency’s IT department.
The order was issued one day after the Governor of Maryland took similar action.
“TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from its users’ devices—including when, where, and how they conduct Internet activity—and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government,” the release states.
TikTok claimed that it stores U.S. data within the U.S., but the company admitted in a letter to Congress that China-based employees can have access to U.S. data.
"It has also been reported that ByteDance planned to use TikTok location information to surveil individual American citizens," the report states. "Further, under China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law, all businesses are required to assist China in intelligence work including data sharing, and TikTok’s algorithm has already censored topics politically sensitive to the Chinese Communist Party, including the Tiananmen Square protests."
Abbott also informed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker Dade Phelan that the Executive Branch stands ready to assist in codifying and implementing any necessary cybersecurity reforms when the 88th Texas Legislature convenes next year.
The legislation will also be presented to make permanent the governor's directive to the state agencies.