White House Orders TikTok Purge From Government Devices

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The White House on Monday ordered the removal of the Chinese-owned TikTok app from all government devices and systems within 30 days in a bid to keep U.S. data safe.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said on Twitter that the Biden administration “has made advancing our nation’s cybersecurity a top priority.”

“Today, OMB is releasing guidance on implementation of the ‘No TikTok on Government Devices Act,’ requiring agencies to cease using the app except in select circumstances,” the agency wrote.

OMB Director Shalanda Young issued the guidance to all federal agencies requiring them to prohibit internet traffic from reaching the Chinese-owned company as part of the purge.

An OMB memo states that agencies must address any use of TikTok by IT vendors through contracts within 90 days. Further, they must include a new prohibition on TikTok in all new solicitations within 120 days.

According to the memo, while some uses of the app on government devices may be permitted—such as for national security, law enforcement, or security research activities—blanket exemptions for entire agencies will not be permitted.

However, agency leaders must approve such activities, according to the memo.

Chinese Spy App

China’s laws require any company within its borders to hand over information to its ruling communist regime, including any data collected by Beijing-based Byte Dance, TikTok’s parent company.

Multiple elected officials and security experts have expressed concerns about TikTok being used as a tool for Chinese spying.

National security concerns about China heightened recently after a Chinese spy balloon floated over the United States. The surveillance balloon was shot down after several days, but not before it had moved over sensitive military installations.

The TikTok purge is part of the Biden administration’s “ongoing commitment to securing our digital infrastructure and protecting the American people’s security and privacy,” Federal Chief Information Security Officer Chris DeRusha said, according to Reuters.

By Caden Pearson

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