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Collin County Bans TikTok On Government Devices

The ban cites cybersecurity as a priority
Photo: nikkimeel | Shutterstock

At a Collin County Commissioners meeting on Dec 12, 2022, it was decided that the TikTok app would be banned on all county networks and county devices.

According to WFAA, the move to ban the app comes after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered Texas state agencies to ban TikTok on government-issued devices. The governor cited the threat of the Chinese Communist Party gaining access to U.S. information and infrastructure during the ban.

On Dec. 7, the governor sent letters to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas Speaker Dade Phelan and state agency leaders raising concerns about cybersecurity. 

“The preservation of the safety and security of Texas is foremost among the duties of our offices,” Abbott wrote in the letter. “The threat of the Chinese Communist Party to infiltrate the United States continues to grow. While the federal government holds the ultimate responsibility for foreign policy issues, the State also has the responsibility and opportunity to protect itself.”

Abbott told state leaders to immediately ban TikTok on devices including cell phones, laptops, tablets, desktops computers or any other devices connected to the internet. Each state agency will have until February 15 to make official policies on using TikTok on personal devices for its employees.

All Collin County government employees are no longer permitted to use the app on government devices. It is not clear what rules regarding government workers using the app on personal devices will be implemented, but Abbott said Texas DPS and Texas Department of Information Resources will develop a model plan for other state agencies by Jan. 15, 2023.

"As it speaks to network security, the county’s Information Technology department cut off access to TikTok from any device accessing the county network," Collin County Public Information Officer Tim Wyatt told Local Profile.

But Texas isn’t the only state to implement the ban: Maryland, South Dakota, South Carolina and Nebraska have also blocked or requested to block TikTok from all state government devices. The U.S. military has also banned the app on its devices.

"While it might be innocuous for teenagers to use the app, it's a different story for federal, state and county officials to put their organization's information at risk through an app that serves no purpose in government services, and is known to access nonpublic data of U.S. TikTok users," Wyatt said. "This is a pretty straight-forward network security precaution."