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New York City Implements Immediate Ban on TikTok Citing Security Concerns



Mett.Ai News Desk

U.S. House Ban on TikTok Usage on Government Devices and Biden Administration's Escalating Pressure

New York City has joined the growing list of governments taking action against TikTok, the popular social media platform owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance. The decision comes as part of an effort to address potential security threats originating from China. As reported by The Verge, the ban is effective immediately, requiring city agencies to uninstall the TikTok app from all city-owned devices within the next 30 days.

The move follows a security review conducted by the NYC Cyber Command, a division responsible for addressing cyber threats within the NYC Office of Technology and Innovation. The review prompted the recommendation for the ban as a precautionary measure against potential security risks.

This is not the first instance of a TikTok ban within the United States. The state of New York had already imposed its own prohibition on the use of TikTok on government devices back in 2020. Other states, including New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, and Georgia, have also introduced similar bans in recent years.

At the federal level, the U.S. House of Representatives implemented a ban on the use of TikTok on government devices in December. The Biden administration has also been increasing pressure on TikTok, seeking to compel the platform to sever its ties with its Chinese parent company.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew appeared before Congress in March, undergoing extensive questioning over concerns that the platform could be exploited by China to compromise national security. Chew firmly asserted that ByteDance is not under the influence of any foreign government. Despite these assurances, the U.S. government and several states have continued to express reservations.

The scrutiny on TikTok extends beyond the United States. Montana's governor signed a law in May that will prohibit TikTok's usage in the state starting in 2024. Unlike previous bans that focused on government devices, this ban also extends to regular users and their access to the app.

TikTok has responded to the Montana ban with a lawsuit aimed at maintaining its availability to residents of the state. Tech industry groups NetChoice and Chamber of Progress have rallied behind TikTok's legal efforts, arguing that the ban hampers internet connectivity and disregards the fundamental design of the internet.

While the concerns over TikTok's Chinese ownership persist, there is currently no concrete evidence to suggest that the platform has been used for espionage. However, the close relationship between private companies and the Chinese government raises valid security concerns. China's ability to exert influence over private enterprises and its potential for data exploitation remain important considerations.

TikTok has taken steps to address data security concerns and build trust with regulators. Yet, the company faces challenges due to past incidents, such as the revelation that ByteDance employees tracked journalists' IP addresses in an attempt to curtail internal leaks. These challenges underscore the complexity of the security landscape surrounding the app.

While TikTok's actions and Chinese ownership may raise concerns, experts note that similar data could be obtained through various means, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive cybersecurity measures.

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