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Volume XIII, Number 28

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South Dakota Governor Bans State Workers from Using TikTok

It is estimated that some 80 million Americans and more than one billion people use TikTok. It is well known that TikTok has a direct connection to the Chinese Communist Party, which is a foreign adversary of the U.S. This week, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed an executive order banning all state workers or contractors from accessing TikTok’s website or app on any state-owned or leased devices. According to Governor Noem, “South Dakota will have no part in the intelligence gathering operations of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Other governors may wish to take note of this bold, yet necessary, move. U.S. federal agencies, including the State Department, Department of Defense, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. military, and the Pentagon have already banned federal workers from using TikTok. The reason: national security. Yes folks, the use of TikTok and voluntarily allowing the Chinese Communist Party unfettered access to all content in TikTok is a matter of national security.

Commissioner Brendan Carr of the Federal Communications Commission feels strongly that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) should ban TikTok for American users due to national and cybersecurity concerns. According to Carr, he has little confidence in Tik Tok’s ability to properly handle U.S. users’ data, stating that TikTok is “a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data” with a direct connection to the Chinese Communist Party. He has asked Google and Apple to remove TikTok from their app stores. Users I have spoken with do not seem to care about national security or that they are endangering national security while they have fun with the app. We need to collectively understand and heed the warnings of our government and understand the impact, though unintentional or ignorant at best, our actions have on national security. Let’s not wait for the government to ban the use of TikTok; let’s collectively do the right thing: delete the app and stop using the website.

Copyright © 2023 Robinson & Cole LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 335
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About this Author

Linn F. Freedman, Robinson Cole Law Firm, Cybersecurity and Litigation Law Attorney, Providence
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Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She provides guidance on data privacy and cybersecurity compliance to a full range of public and private clients across all industries, such as construction, education, health care, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, utilities and critical infrastructure, marine, and charitable organizations. Linn is a member of the firm's Business Litigation Group and chairs its Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team. She is also a member of the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team (CyFi ...

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