Tech: NYC Bans TikTok On City-Owned Devices

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New York City is banning TikTok from city-owned devices and requiring agencies to remove the app within the next 30 days. The directive issued on Wednesday came after a review by the NYC Cyber Command, which a city official said found that TikTok “posed a security threat to the city’s technical networks.” Starting immediately, city employees are barred from downloading or using the app and accessing TikTok’s website from any city-owned devices.

“While social media is great at connecting New Yorkers with one another and the city, we have to ensure we are always using these platforms in a secure manner,” a New York City Hall spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday. “NYC Cyber Command regularly explores and advances proactive measures to keep New Yorkers’ data safe.”

The city cited US Office of Management and Budget guidelines discouraging TikTok’s use on government devices as well as federal legislation banning the app that was passed earlier this year. For more than three years, the US Congress has attempted to push through legislation banning TikTok nationwide, alleging that the app and its Chinese owner, ByteDance, can use the data it collects to spy on Americans.

A number of US states have banned TikTok on government-owned devices, but governors have recently tried to go even further. In May, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed a bill banning the app within the entire state, making it the first state to do so. Shortly after the bill was signed into law, TikTok users and the company itself sued the state, arguing that it infringed on the free speech rights of Montana citizens.

New York state banned TikTok on state-issued devices back in 2020 through an internal policy barring its download and use on government-owned devices, according to the Times Union earlier this year. The policy still allowed a handful of New York public relations platforms to use the app for marketing purposes.

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