White House sets 30-day deadline to ban TikTok on government devices

White House sets 30-day deadline to ban TikTok on government devices
White House Orders Government Workers to Remove TikTok From Devices Within 30 …

The White House has given federal agencies a 30-day deadline to remove TikTok from their government-issued devices.

In guidance set out by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director Shalanda Young, government agencies must "remove and disallow installations" of the Chinese-owned video-sharing app, which also includes any other app created by TikTok's parent company, ByteDance.

(Though there are some exceptions in the guidance that allows TikTok use for the purposes of national security, law enforcement and research).

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The ban does not apply to the 100m private citizens who are on TikTok nor business unassociated to the government.

However, a recently introduced bill in Congress would "effectively ban TikTok" in the US, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says.

"Congress must not censor entire platforms and strip Americans of their constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression," ACLU senior policy counsel Jenna Leventoff said in a release.

"We have a right to use TikTok and other platforms to exchange our thoughts, ideas, and opinions with people around the country and around the world."

This move has been described as a "critical step forward in addressing the risks presented by the app to sensitive government data," by the OMB amid security concerns about how US user data could be obtained by the Chinese government.

ByteDance-owned TikTok has said the concerns are fueled by misinformation and has denied using the app to spy on Americans, Reuters reported.

In December, Congress passed the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act” as part of a federal government spending package.

"The Biden-Harris Administration has invested heavily in defending our nation’s digital infrastructure and curbing foreign adversaries’ access to Americans’ data,” said Chris DeRusha, the federal chief information security officer.

“This guidance is part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to securing our digital infrastructure and protecting the American people’s security and privacy.”

Some government agencies such as the White House, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department had already banned TikTok from government devices before this deadline.

Elsewhere, Canada has also banned TikTok from all government-issued mobile devices, describing the level of risk to privacy and security as "unacceptable."

While the European Union's top institutions - the EU Commission and the EU Council - have banned the app from employee phones over cybersecurity concerns.

Could the UK follow suit? Read our explainer here.

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