Abbott extends TikTok bans in Texas

The governor launched a plan to ensure that the Chinese Communist Party cannot access key user information through the app.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott presented a plan to ban TikTok in the state. Abbott stressed that his state "cannot ignore this security threat" and denounced the risk posed by the Chinese-based application being able to access the information of government employees or contractors through both personal and government-provided devices.

"Owned by a Chinese company that employs Chinese Communist Party members, TikTok harvests significant amounts of data from a user’s device, including details about a user’s internet activity. Other prohibited technologies listed in the statewide model plan also produce a similar threat to the security of Texans. It is critical that state agencies and employees are protected from the vulnerabilities presented by the use of this app and other prohibited technologies as they work on behalf of their fellow Texans," Abbott said in a statement.

Abbott warns of TikTok risks

The governor's plan targets the cell phones or devices of state administration employees, both personal and work-related. According to Abbott, there is a risk that TikTok or similar applications could access key business or government agency data. "The security risks associated with the use of TikTok on devices used to conduct the important business of our state must not be underestimated or ignored."

The five keys to the plan

Thus, the Texas model plan proposes five key initiatives:

  • Ban and prevent the download or use of TikTok and prohibited technologies on any state-issued device identified in the statewide plan. This includes all state-issued cell phones, laptops, tablets, desktop computers, and other devices of capable of internet connectivity. Each agency’s IT department must strictly enforce this ban.
  • Prohibit employees or contractors from conducting state business on prohibited technology-enabled personal devices.
  • Identify sensitive locations, meetings, or personnel within an agency that could be exposed to prohibited technology-enabled personal devices. Prohibited technology-enabled personal devices will be denied entry or use in these sensitive areas.
  • Implement network-based restrictions to prevent the use of prohibited technologies on agency networks by any device.
  • Work with information security professionals to continuously update the list of prohibited technologies.

This is yet another extension of the TikTok ban in the Lone Star State. It kicked off in December 2022, when Abbott banned state agency employees from downloading or using TikTok on any government device.