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Official TikTok ban on US government smartphones

There’s bad news for federal government workers who enjoy using and consuming the video-sharing platform TikTok.

Staff have been informed by the Committee on House Administration (COA) that the app is no longer permitted on House-managed mobile endpoints.

The Office of Cybersecurity has determined that the TikTok mobile application poses a high risk to users due to a variety of security vulnerabilities, the department wrote in an internal email.

Prohibition on all levels

To avoid further contact from the COA Office of Cybersecurity, all employees of the lower chamber must immediately uninstall the app.

This prohibition will soon spread to include additional parts of the US government. More stringent restrictions on the use of the now-infamous app have been included in the $1.66 trillion omnibus spending bill awaiting President Biden’s signature.

With its meteoric rise in popularity in recent months, TikTok has overtaken all other social media sites. ByteDance, a Chinese software company, owns and operates the service, and the U.S. government quickly began to investigate it due to China’s stance on privacy, data management, and human rights.

To counter this, in 2020, then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order labelling TikTok a “threat” and prohibiting any business with the app from occurring within the United States.

For fear of data being stolen by the Chinese government, the Trump administration attempted to compel the company to sell its US operations to a domestic buyer.

ByteDance admitted earlier this month that its employees had accessed user data belonging to journalists in an attempt to determine who leaked a specific set of information, despite denials from the company and the Chinese government.

Furthermore, the company acknowledged last summer that Chinese workers had access to user data in the United States.