TikTok, the China-based social media app which the head of the FBI recently deemed a national security concern, has been banned from all Pennsylvania Treasury-issued devices.
Treasurer Stacy Garrity announced the ban Thursday. The move will protect the Pennsylvania Treasury Department’s computer systems.
TikTok is owned by ByteDance, which is based in Beijing. Garrity said in a statement that as the Treasury Department’s computer network is targeted constantly by criminals and scammers, TikTok presents a danger due to its collection of personal data and close connection to the communist Chinese government.
“Banning TikTok from Treasury devices and systems is an important step in our never-ending work to ensure the safety of Pennsylvanians’ hard-earned tax dollars and other important, sensitive information entrusted to Treasury,” Garrity said.
TikTok had not been used on any Treasury-issued devices, according to an internal security review conducted by Treasury this month. The Treasury ban covers phones, laptops, and desktop computers. In addition, Treasury’s firewall has been updated to block access to both the TikTok app and its corresponding website from the Treasury network.
Congress is prepared to bar federal employees from using TikTok on government devices. Numerous states have banned the app, including Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
TikTok has also been banned by Florida’s Department of Financial Services, Louisiana’s Department of State, and the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office. The Indiana Attorney General has filed two lawsuits against TikTok.