Salt Lake County bans TikTok (3)

Salt Lake County has Banned TikTok on Official Devices Due to Data Privacy Issues

If Salt Lake County employees want to use their government-issued cellphones to peruse through amusing videos, they will have to find somewhere other than TikTok. On Tuesday, the County Council unanimously decided to prohibit the use of the widespread social media app on county-owned properties, joining the growing number of governments worldwide that have taken this stance against the app in recent weeks.

“After hearing the concerns by the White House, state of Utah, and several other government entities regarding data concerns with Tik Tok,” council Chair Aimee Winder Newton said in a text message, “the Salt Lake County Council decided to follow suit by banning TikTok on county devices.”

Because ByteDance, the company that owns the video app, is based in China, where the government has the power to compel businesses to hand over user data, the app has come under scrutiny for security reasons. Salt Lake County’s new policy includes exceptions that will allow visitors at county arts venues and libraries to continue using the app on personal devices that are linked to guest networks.

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Salt Lake County bans TikTok
Salt Lake County bans TikTok

The county’s prosecutor’s office will also have access to the app via the network for use in investigations. On the same day that Salt Lake County banned TikTok, U.S. Senator Mitt Romney joined a bipartisan group of senators to file a bill that would give the federal government the authority to ban the website and any others it deems to be a threat to national security.

“We have to recognize that we face geopolitical adversaries that are serious and threaten our security, our prosperity, and even the peace and freedom that we enjoy,” the Utah Republican told reporters. “This piece of legislation is designed to help protect Americans and protect America and our friends.”

Governor Spencer Cox forbade the use of the social networking platform on state-owned smartphones in December due to cybersecurity concerns.