AP

Georgia, NH latest states to ban TikTok from state computers

Dec 15, 2022, 11:56 AM | Updated: Dec 16, 2022, 1:06 pm

FILE - The TikTok logo is seen on a cell phone on Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp...

FILE - The TikTok logo is seen on a cell phone on Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, immediately banned the use of TikTok and two popular messaging applications from all computer devices controlled by Georgia's state government, saying the Chinese government may be able to access users' personal information. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — Govs. Brian Kemp of Georgia and Chris Sununu of New Hampshire on Thursday immediately banned the use of TikTok and popular messaging applications from all computer devices controlled by their state governments, saying the Chinese government may be able to access users’ personal information.

Both Republican governors banned the messaging app WeChat and other apps owned by Chinese firm Tencent. Sununu went further, banning apps owned by Chinese firm Alibaba and telecommunications hardware and smartphones made by Chinese firms including Huawei and ZTE.

Kemp also banned Telegram, saying its Russian control poses similar risks.

“The state of Georgia has a responsibility to prevent any attempt to access and infiltrate its secure data and sensitive information by foreign adversaries such as the CCP,” Kemp wrote in a memo, using an acronym for the Chinese Communist Party. “As such, it is our duty to take action to preserve the safety and security of our state against the CCP, entities it controls and other foreign cyberthreats.”

Sununu said the ban “will help preserve the safety, security, and privacy of the citizens of New Hampshire.”

Kemp cited comments by FBI Director Chris Wray earlier this month that China could use the app to collect data on its users that could be used for spying operations.

Sununu ordered state agencies to remove any prohibited software or hardware within 30 days.

Kemp and Sununu are among at least 14 governors to take such an action, part of a wave that also includes calls for Congress to ban the use of the programs from federal government computers.

Some agencies swiftly took action. Within an hour, Georgia’s Department of Transportation posted a farewell video on TikTok to its 2,834 followers, saying “Follow us on Instagram, we will no longer be posting to TikTok! Thank you all for the engagement.” The department had posted more than 80 videos since October 2021.

Andrew Isenhour, a spokesperson for Kemp, said guidelines to be issued by the Georgia Technology Authority later Thursday would include exceptions that would allow law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to access the platforms with special permission.

The ban will not apply to Georgia public universities, Isenhour said. Many of which use TikTok to court potential new students and communicate with current students and athletic fans.

Other states that have issued bans including Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Utah.

The U.S. Senate passed a bill in 2020 to ban TikTok, but it never passed the House. Other bills to regulate or ban TikTok and other apps are also pending in Congress. The U.S. armed forces have prohibited the app on military devices.

Critics say they fear the Chinese government is gaining access to critical information through the application and could be using it to spread misinformation or propaganda.

While there has been much debate about whether the Chinese government is actively collecting TikTok data, observers say TikTok would have to comply with any potential requests from Chinese security and intelligence requests to hand over data because the company’s owner ByteDance, is a Chinese company.

ByteDance moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020.

TikTok spokesperson Jamal Brown told The Associated Press earlier this month that the bans “are largely fueled by misinformation about our company.”

TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas, based in Los Angeles, has said the company protects all American users’ data and that Chinese government officials have no access to it.

Former President Donald Trump issued blanket orders against Chinese tech companies that sought to block new users from downloading WeChat and TikTok in 2020, but lost in court. President Joe Biden has taken a narrower approach, ordering a Commerce Department review of security concerns. U.S. officials and the company are now in talks over a possible agreement that would resolve American security concerns.

A researcher with the conservative Heritage Foundation last month called on government officials to ban TikTok from operating entirely in the United States. But some other experts say the threat is overstated and that China gains little advantage from TikTok information that isn’t publicly available.

___

Follow Jeff Amy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffamy.

___

Associated Press reporter Kathy McCormack in Concord, N.H., contributed to this story.

___

This story has been corrected to show Georgia public universities will not be affected by the ban.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

1 day ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

8 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

9 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

11 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

11 days ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Georgia, NH latest states to ban TikTok from state computers