On Monday, the White House directed government agencies to ensure that the Chinese-owned app TikTok is not present on any federal devices or systems within the next 30 days.
To safeguard American data, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young instructed federal agencies in a guidance memorandum, which was viewed by Reuters, to remove TikTok from their phones and systems and block internet traffic to the company.
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Following in the footsteps of Canada, the EU, Taiwan, and over half of the U.S. states, the ban was mandated by Congress in late 2022.
Although the device ban will only affect a small fraction of TikTok’s user base in the U.S., it adds momentum to the demands for a complete prohibition on the video-sharing app. National security apprehensions about China have intensified in the past few weeks, following the accidental drifting of a Chinese balloon over the U.S.
TikTok, which is owned by ByteDance, refuted allegations of espionage and claimed that the concerns were based on misinformation.
The measure will not impact the usage of TikTok by over 100 million Americans on their private or corporate devices. There was no immediate response from TikTok regarding the White House memorandum.
In December, Congress decided to prohibit federal workers from using the Chinese-owned video app on government devices and instructed the Biden administration to release directives to agencies within 60 days. This vote was a recent effort by U.S. legislators to clamp down on Chinese firms, driven by national security concerns that Beijing might exploit them to surveil American citizens.
According to Chris DeRusha, the Federal Chief Information Security Officer, “this direction is a component of the Administration’s continuous pledge to safeguarding our digital infrastructure and upholding the security and privacy of the American people.”