About a week after TikTok parent company Bytedance confessed to spying on several U.S. journalists (we reported), the state of Kansas is cracking down and banning the app from deputies’ mobile devices. A ban for the entire U.S. is also already on the table.
TikTok ban on official cell phones in Kansas
A few days after the spying scandal by TikTok parent company Bytedance, the US state of Kansas is the first to crack down, as reported by the Washington Times, among others. According to the report, Governor Laura Kelly has issued a TikTok ban for official cell phones of legislators.
According to the report, this makes Kansas the first Democratic U.S. state to implement the demands of the U.S. Congress and completely ban TikTok from official cell phones of deputies. Fifteen other Republican-ruled states had already advised their staff to delete the app from their cell phones and stop using it. The app has also already been banned from the US military.
As early as the beginning of December 2022, FBI chief Christopher Wray expressed critical security concerns about TikTok and, according to a report by the Stern, saw the danger in the fact that the Chinese government alone had influence over the algorithm and could manipulate the content as it wished.
Governor Kelly also shares the view, noting in her statement that TikTok collects data and potentially makes it available to the Chinese Communist Party. This could be used to create and analyze location and movement data of elected officials, among other things.
A bill to ban TikTok throughout the United States already exists in the House of Representatives, according to reports. It is no longer unlikely that this TikTok ban will actually be implemented.