NY may ban TikTok from government-issued phones over China spying threat – New York Post

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A bill introduced in the state Legislature would ban New York employees and contractors from downloading TikTok onto government-issued electronics out of fear of Chinese espionage.
“To have such an app downloaded onto government phones or devices is a threat,” state Sen. Kevin Thomas told The Post Monday.
The proposed ban would cover cell phones, computers and other internet-capable gizmos with the restrictions immediately taking effect if Gov. Kathy Hochul were to sign the bill into law once it passes the state Senate and Assembly, according to the legislative language.
National security experts recently warned that data posted on the China-based social media platform could end up in the hands of the ruling Community Party, though ByteDance, which owns TikTok, has argued that steps are being taken to safeguard user data in the U.S.
A TikTok representative could not be reached for comment Monday about the proposed bill to make New York the latest place to limit the video-heavy app, which is particularly popular among members of Generation Z.
A spokesman for the state Office of Information Technology Services told The Post Monday that New York began curbing the use of TikTok by its employees two years ago. 
“We recognize that social media platforms have become integral to the way we communicate and share information, and to that end, there is extremely limited use of TikTok including for approved social media presences,” the spokesman said. 
State likes Texas, Maryland, South Carolina, South Dakota and Nebraska have already made moves to block TikTok on taxpayer-funded devices.
While the idea will not go anywhere until the New York state Legislature reconvenes next year, Thomas’ bill is already attracting bipartisan support.
“TikTok is owned by a Chinese company and they are required to share personal data with the (Chinese Community Party). I would support such a ban on government owned phones,” state Sen. George Borello (R-Chautauqua) told The Post Monday.
Privacy experts have warned about the privacy dangers of TikTok alongside U.S.-based apps like Facebook and Twitter who collect data on what their users do.
“If we’re gonna start banning TikTok from state phones, we should also be banning, Facebook, Instagram, and American tech companies too,” Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, said about the proposed bill.
“TikTok is incredibly creepy and invasive, but I think that’s what makes it so similar to a lot of American tech companies – not what sets it apart. [But] I always worry that a lot of people are quick to see these concerns only when it’s a Chinese company,” he added.


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