California considers TikTok ban for state-issued phones and devices

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California considers TikTok ban for state-issued cell phones and devices
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STATEWIDE – State Senator Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced High Risk App Ban for State Devices, Senate Bill 74, to prevent an attack on California’s information security.

Last fall, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray warned TikTok could be used for espionage by a non-democratic government. 

President Joe Biden has since approved a limited TikTok ban on federal devices, and the U.S. House of Representatives banned it on all of its devices. Previously, the U.S. military prohibited its members from using TikTok on government cell phones and computers. 

In addition, nearly two dozen states have instituted limits for use of these apps on government-controlled devices.

California’s consideration to ban the app comes amid a recent security breach where a global ransomware group claimed to have stolen 76 gigabytes of data.

California’s Department of Finance confirmed, December 12, that it was investigating a cybersecurity incident. LockBit Ransomware Group claimed to have stolen confidential data from the agency. The department said that no state funds were compromised.

Dodd says Senate Bill 74 seeks to prevent additional security breaches through the use of high-risk apps. 

RELATED: Apple Valley Council to fund TikTok social media presence based on student recommendation

“Social media apps are ubiquitous in our daily lives, but there is growing concern about information theft and data collection that comes with their use,” said Senator Dodd. “Prohibiting these apps on state phones and other devices is a commonsense way to prevent exposure of our sensitive material and the possible tracking or data breaches. Clearly, there are bad actors out there, and we can’t afford to let them in.”

Dodd says data and consumer privacy advocates are expected to support the bill.

“The Consumer Federation of California (CFC) is concerned that certain apps are engaging in harmful privacy practices that include tracking and sharing of keystrokes, passwords and other personal data, all without a consumer’s knowledge,” said Consumer Federation of California Executive Director Robert Herrell. 

Herrell says the CFC looks forward to working with Senator Dodd on a solution that boosts privacy and security.

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