South Dakota governor bans state employees from using TikTok on government devices

“South Dakota will not participate in intelligence collection operations from nations that hate us,” Gov. Kristi Noem said in a press release. « The Chinese Communist Party uses the information it collects on TikTok to manipulate the American people, and they collect data on devices that access the platform. »

The ordinance takes effect immediately.

It’s unclear whether many, if any, state employees were actively using TikTok on state-owned devices. But with the move, Noem is the latest lawmaker to urge tougher action against the popular short-form video app, potentially scoring political points in the process.

There has been further criticism of TikTok this year, following a report by Buzzfeed News in June that said some US user data had been repeatedly accessed from China. The report cited leaked audio recordings of dozens of internal TikTok meetings, including one where a TikTok employee allegedly said, « Everything is seen in China. »

In a response to the report, TikTok previously said it « has always maintained that our engineers located outside of the United States, including in China, can access US user data as needed under these strict controls. » A TikTok executive testified before a Senate panel last year that he does not share information with the Chinese government and that a US-based security team decides who can access US user data from China.

« Because of our serious duty to protect the private data of the citizens of South Dakota, we must take this action immediately, » Noem said. « I hope other states follow South Dakota’s lead and that Congress should take broader action as well. »

— CNN’s Catherine Thorbecke contributed to this report.

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