Taiwan bans state-owned devices from running TikTok • The Register

Bans on the public sector of Chinese platform TikTok on national security grounds have come in both Taiwan and other US states following last week’s ban in South Dakota.

The US FCC commissioner has hailed Taiwan’s move as “smart” and its ministry of digital affairs as “strong leadership.”

Posting his congratulations as a quote-tweet, Carr hinted that his efforts in early November to work with the governed country mass, also known as the Republic of China, had an impact on the decision.

In a speech at the University of Michigan last Friday, Chris Wray, director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), reiterated the security risks associated with TikTok and cautioned against its use.

In addition to known issues with parent company ByteDance’s data collection and its potential as a spying tool, Wray said Beijing could have control over the app’s algorithm, allowing for content manipulation and thus influencing its users.

TikTok is known for its rabbit hole-like ability to bring extremism to justice. “A user could download the app for breakfast and be fed overtly white supremacist and neo-Nazi content before lunch,” researchers Olivia Little and Abbie Richards said of their studies of the apps’ behavior over the past year.

Last month, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council reportedly said the government had banned Chinese-funded companies from operating online platforms in Taiwan and ByteDance does not operate a branch in Taiwan.

However, apps like Tik Tok and Douyin can still be downloaded easily in Taiwan, and ISPs have not been prevented from allowing individuals to install them.

Taiwan’s new public sector ban bans TikTok on government-connected mobile phones, tablets and PCs.

The US state of South Dakota issued a similar ban on state-related devices on November 29. South Dakota’s Executive Order prohibits not only using the platform, but also downloading the app and even just visiting the site from any state-owned device with an internet connection.

The US military and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have taken similar action. On Monday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster decided to do the same in his state.

On Tuesday, the US state of Maryland followed suit with an emergency order from Governor Larry Hogan.

However, Hogan’s policy is broader than others as it also applies to Huawei Technologies; ZTE Corp.; Tencent Holdings, including but not limited to: Tencent QQ, QQ Wallet and WeChat; Alibaba products including but not limited to: AliPay; and Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.

“These entities pose an unacceptable cybersecurity risk to the state and may be involved in activities such as cyberespionage, surveillance of government agencies, and inappropriate collection of sensitive personal information,” read a ready-made statement from Maryland.

The directive requires government agencies to remove all products from government networks, take steps to prevent their installation, and restrict network access to them within 14 days of their release.

“We are disappointed that the many state agencies, departments and universities that have used TikTok to build communities and reach out to voters will no longer have access to our platform,” TikTok reportedly said Tuesday. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/12/07/taiwan_bans_chinese_platform_tiktok/ Taiwan bans state-owned devices from running TikTok • The Register

Rick Schindler

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