Texas Governor's TikTok Ban Draws Controversy: Legal or Political?

Ash Jurberg

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"Announcing today a statewide plan to ban TikTok. Texans, especially our state agencies and employees, must be protected from having sensitive information shared with the Chinese Communist Party. We cannot ignore this security threat." Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Last month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Gov. directed all state agencies to ban the use of TikTok to eliminate the platform's cybersecurity risks. TikTok is owned by the company Bytedance, based in China, and Abbott has concerns over data privacy.

Soon after the announcement, two major Texas universities- the University of Texas and Texas A&M followed suit. Due to security concerns, they banned TikTok on wired and Wi-Fi networks on campus.

Today Abbott announced a statewide model security plan which outlines how Texas plans to ban the growing social media platform.

The security risks associated with the use of TikTok on devices used to conduct the important business of our state must not be underestimated or ignored. Owned by a Chinese company that employs Chinese Communist Party members, TikTok harvests significant amounts of data from a user’s device, including details about a user’s internet activity. Other prohibited technologies listed in the statewide model plan also produce a similar threat to the security of Texans. It is critical that state agencies and employees are protected from the vulnerabilities presented by the use of this app and other prohibited technologies as they work on behalf of their fellow Texans. I thank the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Department of Information Resources for their hard work helping safeguard the state’s sensitive information and critical infrastructure from potential threats posed by hostile foreign actors.” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Each Texas state agency will have until February 15, 2023, to implement its own policy to enforce this statewide plan.

The news follows an incident last week where a Chinese balloon flew over the United States- an incident Abbott blamed on Biden.

The China balloon flying over the U.S. is a direct assault on our national sovereignty. Biden’s refusal to stop it is a dereliction of duty. From flying balloons to open borders, Biden has no regard for our national security and sovereignty." Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

There are heightened concerns over the potential of China spying on the United States and Abbott is hoping that the Tik Tok ban is one measure to reduce this threat.

Your thoughts

Are you glad that Gov. Abbott is banning TikTok? Do you use TikTok? Do you have any security concerns with using the app? Should Texans be free to decide on what apps they use?

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below and share this article with others so they can join the conversation.

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San Antonio, TX

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