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White House gives agencies 30 days to remove TikTok from devices Story-level




WASHINGTON – The White House is giving all federal agencies 30 days to wipe TikTok from all government devices as the Chinese-owned social media app comes under increasing scrutiny in Washington over security concerns.

The Office of Management and Budget calls the guidance, issued Monday, a “critical step in addressing the risks the app presents to sensitive government data.” Some agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State, already have restrictions; the guidance calls for the rest of the federal government to do the same within 30 days.

The White House no longer allows TikTok on its devices.

“The Biden-Harris Administration has invested heavily in defending our nation’s digital infrastructure and limiting foreign adversaries’ access to Americans’ data,” said Chris DeRusha, federal chief information security officer. “This guidance is part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to secure our digital infrastructure and protect the security and privacy of the American people.”

The guidance was first reported by Reuters.

Congress passed the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act” in December as part of a sweeping government funding package. The law allows the use of TikTok in certain cases, including for national security, law enforcement, and investigative purposes.

TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter said Monday: “The TikTok ban on federal devices was passed in December without any deliberation, and sadly, that approach has served as a model for other governments around the world. These bans are little more than political theater.”

House Republicans are expected to move forward Tuesday with a bill that would give Biden the power to ban TikTok across the country. The legislation, proposed by Rep. Mike McCaul, seeks to sidestep challenges the administration would face in court if it moves forward with sanctions against the social media company.

If approved, the proposal would allow the administration to ban not only TikTok, but also any software application that threatens national security. McCaul, the chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, has been outspoken in criticizing the app, saying the Chinese Communist Party is using it to “manipulate and monitor its users while gobbling up Americans’ data to use for its own purposes.” malignant”. activities.”

“Anyone with TikTok downloaded to their device has given the CCP a back door for all their personal information. It’s a spy balloon on your phone,” the Texas Republican said in a statement Monday.

Sen. Bob Menendez, DN.J., his Senate counterpart, did not rule out the idea of ​​the chamber accepting a proposal that would empower Biden to take action against TikTok, saying that “it’s certainly something to consider. ”

Oberwetter said: “We hope that when it comes to addressing national security concerns about TikTok beyond government devices, Congress will explore solutions that do not have the effect of censoring the voices of millions of Americans.”

TikTok, owned by ByteDance Ltd., remains extremely popular and is used by two-thirds of teens in the US. But there are growing concerns that Beijing could gain control of the data of US users the app has gained. .

The company was slammed for the federal device ban, noting that it is developing data privacy and security plans as part of the Biden administration’s ongoing national security review.

Canada also announced Monday that it will ban TikTok on all government-issued mobile devices. The European Union’s executive branch said last week it had temporarily banned TikTok on phones used by employees as a cybersecurity measure.

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