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NYC Enforces 30-Day TikTok Ban Over Alleged Security Concerns

Old Bitter-Sweet TikTok Videos Trend on Twitter After Ban on Chinese App in India

The latest decision by the state of New York follows bans by various other US states and federal agencies over privacy concerns.Authorities in New York have issued a 30-day ultimatum to delete TikTok from electronic devices owned by every government organization and worker in the state.In an official statement, New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ administration expressed that the city’s cyber agency consistently studies and takes preemptive steps to ensure the data security of New Yorkers.

“As part of these ongoing efforts, NYC Cyber Command determined that the TikTok application posed a security threat to the city’s technical networks and directed its removal from city-owned devices,” according to the statement.

The updated bios of Mr. Adams (with over 11,000 followers), the city’s Department of Sanitation (has more than 50,000 followers), and the Department of Parks and Recreation on TikTok feature this message: “This account was operated by NYC until August 2023. It’s no longer monitored.”On Wednesday, New York City and several US states and federal institutions prohibited the widely used social media platform, citing “security concerns.” This is the most recent development in a continuing crusade against Chinese enterprises.TikTok initially claimed that a US-based team controlled access to user data, but employee statements exposed that some US employees had to communicate with colleagues in China to understand data usage. This deepened concerns about data security and control with US authorities.Nevertheless, in 2022, TikTok initiated a process of redirecting its US TikTokers’ data to Oracle Cloud infrastructure domiciled in the United States for storage.Last March, Mao Ning, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, criticized the US for repressing international companies using its state power.”We firmly oppose those wrong actions. The US government should respect the principles of market economy and fair competition, stop suppressing the companies and provide an open, fair, and non-discriminatory environment for foreign companies in the US,” she noted.As of February 2023, TikTok officially disclosed that the short-form video application had garnered over 150 million monthly active users within the US, with a workforce comprising about 7,000 employees in the country. TikTok asserts itself as the favorite platform of almost five million American companies, predominantly small and medium-sized enterprises.AmericasTikTok Sues Montana Over US State’s Looming Ban Against App22 May 2023, 20:47 GMTTikTok usage on devices provided by the government is regulated differently across 33 states in the US, in both Republican and Democratic strongholds. So far, one state has banned the TikTok app on all government-issued and personal devices. Nine states have prohibited TikTok and other similar apps within state agencies, while in 19 states, TikTok usage is banned within government organizations. Additionally, four states have outlawed the app’s use in specific government departments. Moreover, four states are in the process of drafting bills to prohibit TikTok usage on state-owned devices. On the other hand, 13 states have not yet taken any action.While the bans have predominantly applied to official devices, in May, the state of Montana enacted a law prohibiting TikTok and blocked users within the state from downloading the app. TikTok is contesting the law set to be enforced from January 1, on various grounds, including accusations of First Amendment breach.Media reports quoted the social media giant’s spokesperson, who expressed disappointment that several states were “jumping on the bandwagon to enact policies based on unfounded, politically charged falsehoods.”In February, the Biden administration instructed government institutions to delete the app within 30 days, citing national security concerns.Fault LinesTikTok CEO Grilled by Congress as US Mulls Banning App25 March 2023, 04:47 GMTExperts contend that its prohibition would not solely encroach upon the free speech rights of millions of TikTok users, but also prove incapable of solving America’s digital privacy dilemma. The Biden administration “does not have the authority to ban speech” as “postings on TikTok are reported by the First Amendment since they are a form of speech,” remarked James Andrew Lewis, director of the strategic technologies program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington think tank.

“Concerns over mass surveillance are not limited to foreign entities – it is important to acknowledge that US government agencies, too, have accessed Americans’ smartphone data without adequate privacy or civil liberties safeguards,” said Caitlin Chin, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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