White House gives agencies 30 days to impose federal device TikTok ban

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The White House on Monday ordered government agencies to rid their devices of the Chinese-owned app TikTok within 30 days in an effort to prevent China’s communist government from spying on the US.

The directive from Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, first reported by , comes after congressional legislation passed in December banned the popular video-sharing app from federal government devices and systems, amid concerns TikTok’s parent company ByteDance could allow the Chinese Communist Party access to user data. 

ByteDance denies that it would share user data with the CCP, calling the concerns “misinformation.”

Several government agencies, including the White House, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department, had preemptively   banned TikTok from government devices before Congress’s December vote.

Chris DeRusha, the OMB’s Federal Chief Information Security Officer, said Monday the guidance “is part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to securing our digital infrastructure and protecting the American people’s security and privacy.”

The Biden administration is giving agencies 30 days to wipe TikTok from government devices.KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP

The memo clarifies that the TikTok ban does not apply if there are approved national security, law enforcement or security research activities being conducted on government devices.

The memo adds that within 90 days, agencies must address any use of the app by IT vendors through contracts and within 120 days agencies will include a new prohibition on TikTok in all new solicitations. 

The federal contractor ban applies to devices used in government work excludes “any equipment acquired by a federal contractor incidental to a federal contract.”

“TikTok is a Trojan Horse for the Chinese Communist Party. It’s a major security risk to the United States, and until it is forced to sever ties with China completely, it has no place on government devices,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), sponsor of the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act,” said in a statement back in December.

Several states, including Maryland, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas, have passed similar legislation banning government agencies from using TikTok over security concerns. 

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is set to vote on a bill on Tuesday that would give President Biden the power to ban TikTok from all US devices.

“My bill empowers the administration to ban TikTok or any software applications that threaten U.S. national security,” Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said. “Anyone with TikTok downloaded on their device has given the CCP a backdoor to all their personal information. It’s a spy balloon into your their phone.”

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