Lawmakers Propose TikTok Ban on State Devices

Legislative Gazette photo by Endy Cepeda

Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages and Sen. James Sanders have introduced a bill to prevent the use of the app TikTok on state-owned devices. 

The bills (S.508/A.03317) would prevent anyone — employee or contractor — from using or accessing TikTok on any government issued device that can connect to the internet, whether it be by downloading the app or accessing it from a browser. The Senate bill was first introduced in the 2021-2022 legislation, but died in the Rules Committee. This is a new Assembly bill. 

The legislation coincides with the congressional hearing about TikTok on March 23rd of this year, which saw members of Congress questioning the current CEO Shou Zi Chew about safety concerns with potential security threats via use of the app on home devices. 

These concerns stem from the idea that the app, like many others, collects and stores data about its users. TikTok’s parent company, Byte Dance, is a global company with several Chinese stakeholders and headquarters in Beijing — the main concern being that China could access user’s data by direct request, or gather the data through Chinese staff members. 

Shou Zi Chew has stated that Project Texas, a program enacted to safeguard American data on American soil with American workers only, should fix these issues- but it would not address the data that could have already been accessed. 

Several states have already passed bans on the app, notably the states of Texas, Maryland, South Dakota, South Carolina and Nebraska have all banned the app on government devices. TikTok is also banned on federal devices in the U.S. and in the U.K. 

The Gazette reached out to Solages and Sanders for comment, but did not receive a response.