The US state of New Jersey is contemplating proscribing authorities companies’ use of TikTok to designated gadgets that aren’t used for different authorities enterprise, emails obtained by Al Jazeera present.
The transfer would keep away from an outright ban on the Chinese language-owned app for state companies, however nonetheless be a uncommon instance of a closely Democratic state becoming a member of the Republican-led push to limit the favored video-sharing platform.
Final week, Al Jazeera revealed that staunchly liberal Washington state is considering banning using TikTok amongst state companies, which might make the state the primary Democratic stronghold to ban the app over information privateness and nationwide safety considerations.
In an e-mail to colleagues, obtained by Al Jazeera, New Jersey’s prime cybersecurity official mentioned the state is contemplating a full ban on TikTok on authorities gadgets, however is extra more likely to restrict using the app to “separate and remoted gadgets”.
“We’re persevering with to debate the outright ban on TikTok on state gadgets and private gadgets authorised for state enterprise use,” Michael Geraghty, New Jersey’s chief info safety officer, mentioned on December 7 in an e-mail to colleagues on the New Jersey Workplace of Homeland Safety and Preparedness.
“Slightly than an outright ban, we’ll most likely present steerage that might require companies to make use of separate and remoted gadgets for utilizing TikTok. We do the identical for different forms of entry to websites and purposes that symbolize safety dangers, such because the darkish net.”
However Geraghty mentioned companies that do use TikTok are implicitly endorsing the Chinese language authorities’s doubtful actions, together with affect operations on US soil.
“The choice to ban or prohibit using a specific app or web site is finally as much as the company making the choice, and may rely on a wide range of elements, together with the potential dangers and advantages of utilizing the app or web site, the insurance policies and practices of the builders, and the general safety and privateness panorama,” Geraghty mentioned within the emails.
“These companies that do use TikTok have to understand that they’re implicitly endorsing the Chinese language regime’s assortment of their and their viewers’s private data and China’s affect operations within the US.”
Al Jazeera obtained the e-mail after submitting public data requests with companies in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia, together with the New Jersey Workplace of Homeland Safety and Preparedness.
The New Jersey Workplace of Homeland Safety and Preparedness didn’t reply to a request for remark.
To date, a minimum of 19 US states have banned or restricted using TikTok on authorities gadgets, all of which, besides Louisiana, have Republican governors.
Louisiana, a conservative state with a Democratic governor, has banned the app solely on gadgets managed by the state’s Republican secretary of state.
New Jersey, an East Coast state that borders New York, is likely one of the 14 states the place Democrats at the moment management the governorship and each branches of the state legislature.
Earlier this month, three Republican New Jersey state lawmakers introduced plans to introduce laws to ban TikTok on authorities gadgets.
Whereas Republicans have led the push to ban TikTok on the state stage, strikes to limit the app on the nationwide stage have attracted robust assist throughout occasion traces.
Final week, the Democratic-controlled Home of Representatives and Senate handed a $1.7 trillion spending invoice that might ban TikTok from most federal authorities gadgets.
A separate bipartisan invoice to ban TikTok outright within the US is pending in Congress, though it’s extensively thought-about unlikely to make it into legislation.
TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, has confronted rising scrutiny within the US since former President Donald Trump ordered the social media platform to divest its US property amid considerations customers’ delicate private information might be accessed by the Chinese language authorities.
TikTok has denied sharing private information with the Chinese language authorities and insisted it will refuse any requests to take action.
It has additionally sought to handle information safety considerations by agreeing to maneuver all American customers’ information to servers operated by Texas-based Oracle.
In an added supply of controversy for TikTok, ByteDance last week admitted that a variety of its workers had improperly accessed person information to trace two journalists as a part of an inner investigation into leaks to the media.
An organization spokesperson mentioned the staff’ actions had been “unacceptable” and people concerned not labored on the firm.