Hogan Bans Maryland Government Employees From Using TikTok

Hogan Bans Maryland Government Employees From Using TikTok

Soleil Rivera, contributor

Gov. Larry Hogan is prohibiting agencies in Maryland’s executive branch from using TikTok and other “Chinese- and Russian-influenced products and platforms.” This directive applies to companies such as Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corp., Tencent Holdings, Alibaba, and Kaspersky. 

In a news release on Tuesday, Larry Hogan, whose second term as governor of Maryland ends next month, issued an emergency cybersecurity directive that would prohibit state employees from using certain Chinese and Russian-influenced products and platforms in their executive government branch, according to Governor Hogan Announces Emergency Directive to Prohibit Use of TikTok, China and Russia-Based Products and Platforms in State Government

Hogan said that the banned entities present an “unacceptable level of cybersecurity risk to the state,” saying those entities may be involved in acts such as “cyber-espionage, surveillance of government entities, and more.” Last week, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that the Chinese have the ability to control the app’s recommendation algorithm, “which allows them to manipulate content and, if they want to, use it for influence operations.” He also voiced concerns that it could be used to collect user data for spying purposes. 

“There may be no greater threat to our personal safety and our national security than the cyber vulnerabilities that support our daily lives,” Hogan said in a statement. Maryland isn’t the first to initiate a ban on the use of TikTok in government. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced last week that she implemented a ban on TikTok on state government-issued devices, citing security concerns.