NJ lawmakers seek to ban the use of TikTok on state devices
Lawmakers from Ocean County are pushing to prevent the TikTok app from being installed on any electronic devices issued by the state of New Jerse.
Across the United States, many are considering or implementing a ban on TikTok.
The move is being discussed among certain circles within New Jersey law enforcement and members of the state Assembly and Senate, which also follow a move made by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan who this month made the move being pitched here in the Garden State by barring TikTok and other similar platforms coming out of Russia and China from being used on state devices.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster enacted a ban in their states and there are Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin pushing for a move in their state as well.
Texas made a ban recently. Nebraska banned TikTok on devices in 2020, according to the Washington Post.
The U.S. Senate this month passed a ban on devices for federal employees, according to the Washington Post. The bill would need House approval and President Joe Biden's signature of approval.
Will New Jersey make the move to ban TikTok on government electronic devices?
State Sen. Jim Holzapfel, R-Ocean, and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin, R-Ocean, and John Catalano, R-Ocean, released a statement pointing to concerns among state and federal lawmakers, law enforcement and the military alleging the Chinese Communist Party is using the app — operated by an internet tech company based in Singapore known as ByteDance — to collect data from users all over the world and without them knowing have their opinions changed to favor China's government interests.
“There’s growing concern that all of the data TikTok collects on its users is being funneled directly to the Chinese government to use against us in one way or another,” Senator Holzapfel said in a written statement. “When it comes to State-issued devices, we must be careful to not expose sensitive information through TikTok that may be on the phones of policymakers or government workers.”
“People might not realize how much information is being shared through TikTok, including their contacts, calendars, location data, viewing habits, and more,” McGuckin said in a written statement. “That’s a lot of sensitive information to give to a potential adversary, which is why federal officials are raising national security concerns that we would be wise to heed here in New Jersey.”
“Data collection is just one of the many threats posed by TikTok,” Assemblyman Catalano said in a written statement. “Perhaps the biggest threat is the use of the app’s algorithm to control what people see and to influence what they think. It’s a dangerous tool the Chinese government can use to conduct information warfare and undermine democracy and American society. We need to take steps to limit the damage that can be done to New Jerseyans.”
Previous reporting by Michael Symons was also used in this article.