TikTok Must Be Removed From Government Employees’ Devices Within 30 Days, White House Says

Top line

The White House on Monday set a 30-day deadline for federal agencies to remove TikTok from all government-issued devices, months after Congress voted to ban the use of the Chinese-owned social media application on government devices because on national security concerns.

Key facts

Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said in a directive that federal agencies must delete TikTok from the work devices of federal staff and contractors within 30 days, unless there are exceptions.

The directive allows for limited exceptions to the ban, including its use in “law enforcement activities, national security interests…and security research” with prior approval.

However, agencies will not be allowed to issue blanket permission for use of the app and exceptions can only be made on a case-by-case basis.

Agencies were also ordered to block the installation of TikTok on government devices and prevent any internet traffic between the app and these devices.

Federal agencies have been given a 90-day timeline to include the ban in any of their future contracts while canceling any existing contracts that require the use of the app.

TikTok did not respond Forbes‘ request for comment.

What To Watch For

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will debate bill on Tuesday that would allow the president to ban TikTok outright in the U.S. The committee chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) introduced the bill expressing concern that the social media app was giving “a back door to the government of Reach out to our phones.” In March, Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, is scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee regarding data handling policies, privacy measures and their relationship with the Chinese government.

Key Background

The White House order is the latest in a series of actions by Western governments against the use of TikTok on their staff’s devices. On Monday, the Canadian government banned the use of the app on government-issued devices, citing “unacceptable” levels of risk to privacy and national security. Last week, the European Commission took a similar step, ordering all staff to delete the app from both their work and personal devices, citing security reasons. In December, a ban on TikTok on US government devices was included as part of a $1.7 trillion spending bill passed by Congress.

Further Reading

White House sets deadline to clear TikTok from federal devices (Reuters)

Agencies have 30 days to ban TikTok on government devices, White House says (CNN)

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