Gov. Dunleavy bans TikTok from state devices

Alaska is the 22nd state to take action against the social media platform for perceived security risks

The social media app TikTok is now banned on all state equipment, following an announcement Friday by Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

Alaska is the 22nd state to ban TikTok from government devices, and the 23rd to take action against the platform. A ban was included for federal employees in the recently passed bipartisan spending bill.

A press release from the Office of the Governor says the prohibition is being implemented because of national security and privacy concerns, citing TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance. Dunleavy writes in a memorandum included with the press release that the collection of personal data, intellectual property and proprietary information is “of concern to me and my fellow Alaskans.”

“National security experts continue to highlight TikTok as a national security concern, including the possibility that the Chinese government may use TikTok to control data collection, influence TikTok’s recommendation algorithm, and compromise personal devices,” Dunleavy writes in the memo.

The prohibition, effective immediately, states that all state government entities, including departments, divisions, corporations, authorities, offices and any others may not use TikTok, download TikTok, or visit the TikTok website on a state network. TikTok must also be immediately removed from all state devices, with “appropriate steps” then taken to ensure its security. Any exceptions to the prohibition must be approved by the governor’s Chief of Staff.

In response to controversies over the data of American users and the wave of bans from federal and state governments, TikTok partnered with Texas-based Oracle, where as of June, it said “100% of US user traffic is being routed.” At that time the company also committed to deleting all American user data from its own servers, which are based in Virginia and Singapore.

TikTok says that all decisions related to user data in the U.S. are made by U.S.-based leadership, including a United States Data Security Trust and Safety team established last month.

“We know we are among the most scrutinized platforms from a security standpoint, and we aim to remove any doubt about the security of US user data,” the June press release reads.

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