Governor Bans Very Popular Phone App

Maryland GovPics, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday (December 6), Maryland Governor Larry Hogan prohibited the state’s executive branch from using Chinese-influenced cyber products and platforms like Tiktok in an emergency cyber security directive.

In a press release revealing the directive, the Governor’s office asserts using platforms like TikTok presents risks to the state, including falling victim to cyber espionage, surveillance of government entities, and the undisclosed and potentially inappropriate collection of personal data.

Hogan insists that there is “no greater threat” to “personal safety and national security” than the vulnerabilities in the cyber activities that “support our daily lives.”
The Governor then notes that the state — which he describes as the “cyber capital of America” — is taking “bold and decisive steps” in preparing for and addressing cybersecurity threats.

Hogan also explains that the directive is being issued “against foreign actors and organizations that seek to weaken and divide us” in an effort to protect the state’s systems.

TikTok is one of many entities being targeted by the directive. The directive applies to Alibaba, Huawei Technologies, Kapersky, Tencent Holdings, and ZTE Corp.

The directive requires agencies within the Maryland government’s executive arm to remove these products from operations and networks, implement measures to prevent the reinstallation or repurchase of these products, and prevent the use of prohibited services by the executive branch.

Maryland’s directive is more far-reaching than similar directives issued by governors in the past week.

On Wednesday (November 30), South Dakota Governor Kirsti Noem issued an executive order blocking the use of TikTok for state government employees, agencies, and contractors.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued a similar order to Noem’s on Tuesday.