Governor Ricketts Announces TikTok Ban on State-Owned Devices

Aug. 12, 2020, 5:14 p.m. ·

(Photo by Kon Karampelas, Unsplash)

Governor Pete Ricketts announced today that TikTok, a popular video sharing app, will be banned from devices owned by the state.

The move comes on the heels of national controversy around the platform. President Trump recently said TikTok poses a national security risk to the U.S, and issued an executive order sanctioning the app's parent company ByteDance.

Among concerns that the app collects scores of personal data about its American users, Trump also pointed to reports that the app censors content considered politically incendiary by the Chinese Communist Party, "such as content concerning protests in Hong Kong and China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities."

NPR later reported TikTok will sue the Trump Administration over the order, claiming it's unconstitutional and not based in evidence of a security risk. Cyber security experts continue to debate whether the app truly poses a security risk.

In a statement, Ricketts supported the executive action. “As an app owned by a company based in China, TikTok is legally obligated to provide data from its users to the country’s communist regime upon request," he said. He added that blocking the app on Nebraska's government devices will bolster the cybersecurity of state offices.

According to the company's privacy policy, the app automatically collects some personal information, "IP address, geolocation-related data, unique device identifiers, browsing and search history (including content you have viewed in the Platform), and Cookies." Users may also allow the app to access their phone contacts, and GPS data connected to their device.