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  • CCN - Columbus County News

Governor Bans TikTok, Wechat on State Devices

The most popular challenges and homemade dance videos can no longer be made or watched on taxpayer supported electronic devices.

Gov. Roy Cooper signed an Executive Order Thursday prohibiting the use of certain applications and websites on state devices including computers and mobile phones. The Order directs the state Chief Information Officer (CIO) and the North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) to develop a policy within 14 days that prohibits the use of TikTok, WeChat and potentially other applications on state agency information technology systems in a manner that presents an unacceptable cybersecurity risk.

“It’s important for us to protect state information technology from foreign countries that have actively participated in cyberattacks against the United States,” said Governor Cooper. “Protecting North Carolina from cyber threats is vital to ensuring the safety, security, privacy, and success of our state and its people.”

Cybersecurity professionals have identified TikTok and WeChat as high-risk applications due to their lack of sufficient privacy controls and connections to countries that sponsor or support cyber-attacks against the United States. Multiple states and federal government entities, including multiple branches of the United States military and the Transportation Security Administration, have banned TikTok, WeChat, and other applications on federal and state government information technology.

TikTok has repeatedly claimed its controls in the United States are not available to its parent company in China, although cyberintelligence officials say the Chinese Communist government stores, uses and manipulates TikTok data from American users.

The NCDIT policy will be able to be updated in the future if additional high-risk applications and websites are identified by state cybersecurity experts.

“NCDIT’s top priority is the security and protection of the state’s IT systems, data, and assets,” said NCDIT Secretary and State Chief Information Officer Jim Weaver. “Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order is essential to this critical work.”

The order received support from both sides of the aisle in the legislature.

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