NC lawmakers push to ban TikTok from state devices

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – State House representatives are urging Governor Roy Cooper to issue an executive order to ban TikTok from all state government devices.

Republican House Majority Whip Jon Hardister from Guilford County and Republican Lincoln County Representative Jason Saint argue the ban on TikTok is an effort to both protect national security, as TikTok is a Chinese-owned social media app, and a measure to improve cyber security.

The executive order would force an immediate ban on the Chinese-owned app on government-issued electronic devices.

According to one article from the Washington Post, the Chinese-owned app can track the user’s location and collect internet-browsing data, even when users are not actively on the app. TikTok is also said to have censored references to politically sensitive topics.

WITN spoke with Hardister on more of the specifics surrounding his push for the executive order.

“If it’s a private device, it’s a free market. You have freedom. You have First Amendment rights. But if it’s a government device, and you’re using an application that’s tied to a foreign government, in this case, China. We know China is always looking for ways to infiltrate trade secrets and intellectual property, things like that, then I think it’s logical to say you should not have TikTok on a government device,” explained Republican Guilford County Rep. Jon Hardister.

Hardister said the ban would not prevent employees from using the app on personal devices.

“It’s important to note that we’re not talking about a private citizen. If you’re a private citizen you can still have TikTok on your phone. That’s okay,” said Hardister. “But if you’re a government employee, you could have sensitive information on your device, your government-issued device, that could compromise national security.”

Hardister said the federal government has banned the use of Tik Tok on all federal employees’ private devices as well as federally issued devices.