Indiana blocks Chinese-owned app TikTok from state devices

Indiana blocks Chinese-owned app TikTok from state devices

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana has blocked the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok from state devices, the Indiana Office of Technology said Thursday.

As of Dec. 7, the Indiana Office of Technology “blocked the use of TikTok on our state system and state devices,” agency spokesman Graig Lubsen told The Journal Gazette.

The Office of Technology is “continually testing the state system and making sure its integrity is intact,” Lubsen said in an email to the newspaper.

The obstruction came on the same day that Indiana’s attorney general sued TikTok, alleging that the video-sharing platform misleads users, especially children, about inappropriate content and the safety of consumer information.

In his complaint, Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita alleged that while the social video app is said to be safe for users 13 and older, the app contains “sweet and inappropriate content” that is available to young users “indefinitely, 24/7. in order to line TikTok’s pockets with billions of dollars from American consumers.”

Rokita’s separate complaint alleged that the app contains users’ confidential and personal information but misleads consumers into believing the information is secure.

“At the very least, the company owes consumers the truth about the age appropriateness of its content and the uncertainty of the data it collects about users,” Rokita said in a press release.

TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, which moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020. The app has been targeted by Republicans who say the Chinese government has access to user data such as browsing history and location. The US armed forces also banned its use on military devices.

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In a company statement at the time, TikTok said its “top priority” was the “safety, privacy and security of our community.”

“We build youth well-being into our policies, limit features by age, empower parents with tools and resources, and continue to invest in new ways to enjoy age-appropriate content or family convenience,” the statement said. “We are also confident that our negotiations with the US government are on track to fully address all reasonable US national security concerns, and we have already taken significant steps toward achieving those solutions.”

According to an October 2020 report by the nonprofit Global Witness and New York University’s Cybersecurity for Democracy team, the app exploded in popularity by scrolling through almost addictive videos, but also struggled to detect ads that contained blatant misinformation about the US election. .

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Dec. 6 banned the use of TikTok and certain Chinese and Russian platforms by the state’s executive branch to address cybersecurity risks posed by the platforms.

The directive followed Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s Nov. 29 ban on state employees and contractors from accessing TikTok on state devices, citing the app’s ties to China. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, also a Republican, on Monday asked the state Department of Public Administration to ban TikTok from all state government assets it manages. In August 2020, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts banned TikTok from state electronic devices.

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