By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New Jersey and Ohio said on Monday they were joining other states in banning use of the popular video app TikTok on government-owned and managed devices.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said in addition to banning the short-video app owned by Chinese technology conglomerate ByteDance from state devices he also was banning software vendors, products, and services from more than a dozen vendors including Huawei, Hikvision, Tencent Holdings LTD, ZTE Corporation and Kaspersky Lab.
Murphy’s office said “there have been national security concerns about user data the Chinese government might require ByteDance to provide.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, said in his order “these surreptitious data privacy and cybersecurity practices pose national and local security and cybersecurity threats to users of these applications and platforms and the devices
storing the applications and platforms.”
TikTok did not immediately comment.
On Friday, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said he planned to join other states in banning use of the popular video app that has more than 100 million U.S. users.
Republican governors have led the charge to ban TikTok from state devices and some Democratic governors have been slower to do so.
Calls to ban TikTok from government devices gained steam after U.S. FBI Director Christopher Wray said in November it poses national security risks. Wray flagged the threat that the Chinese government could harness the app to influence users or control their devices.
Reuters reported Friday that TikTok has put on hold a hiring process for consultants that would help it implement a potential security agreement with the United States, two people familiar with the matter said, as more U.S. officials oppose such a deal.
For three years, TikTok has been seeking to assure Washington that the personal data of U.S. citizens cannot be accessed and its content cannot be manipulated by China’s Communist Party or any other entity under Beijing’s influence.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese and David Gregorio)