New Jersey Prohibits Use of TikTok and 14 Other Social Media Apps on State-Owned Devices

New Jersey Prohibits Use of TikTok and 14 Other Social Media Apps on State-Owned Devices
The TikTok app logo in an illustration taken on Aug. 22, 2022. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)
Bryan Jung

New Jersey is the latest state to ban the use of TikTok on all state-owned or managed devices, along with 14 other social media apps.

Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy issued a directive on Monday to remove high-risk software on state government devices.

TikTok, a popular video-based social media platform, is gradually being banned by both state and federal authorities for its link to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Several states have already implemented bans on TikTok and Congress has been considering a bipartisan proposal to prevent ByteDance, the social media app’s parent company, from conducting business transactions anywhere in the United States.

“Bolstering cybersecurity is critical to protecting the overall safety and welfare of our State,” said Murphy in a statement.

“The proactive and preventative measures that we are implementing today will ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and safety of information assets managed by New Jersey State government. This decisive action will ensure the cybersecurity of the State is unified against actors who may seek to divide us.”

TikTok Not Alone in Ban

The New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell (NJCCIC), in collaboration with the Office of Information Technology, will maintain a list of tech companies and software products which are deemed a cybersecurity risk to the state.

New Jersey’s list of prohibited software vendors, products, and services now includes: Huawei Technologies, Dahua Technology, Hikvision, Tencent Holdings Ltd. and its apps (WeChat, QQ, and QQ Wallet), Alibaba products such as AliPay and, and TikTok and the Russian-based Kaspersky Lab.

“New Jersey’s policy to remove certain software from State owned or managed devices, inclusive of TikTok, deemed as high risk of potential data loss or privacy issues is part of our statewide cyber risk management program,” said New Jersey Chief Technology Officer Christopher Rein in the announcement.

“This follows in line with a number of actions taken by government and private sector enterprises, and is consistent with some of the risk reduction steps taken at the Federal and State levels. The New Jersey Office of Information Technology will work diligently alongside NJCCIC to maintain cybersecurity across state government,” Rein said.

The statement said that New Jersey authorities have been made aware of “national security concerns about user data the Chinese government might require ByteDance to provide.”

“Analysis of various versions of TikTok have been found to collect the keystrokes of users, make screen captures every few seconds, access data from the phone’s clipboard, and collect the unique Media Access Control (MAC) address of the device, among other user information.”

Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, a Republican, also issued an executive order banning the use of TikTok from government devices on Sunday, the first day of his second term as governor.

“Social media applications and platforms operating in China engage in surreptitious data privacy and cybersecurity practices to include collecting private information, behavioral use data, biometric data and other data contained on the devices of the users,” the order read.

TikTok also joins Ohio’s list of banned Chinese-owned applications and websites, including WeChat.

Total US Ban Becoming Increasingly Likely

Congressional lawmakers passed a TikTok ban on government devices for all federal employees that was inserted into the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package, which was was passed in late December.

Both the Senate and the House also have pending bills that would eventually remove the app and its parent company from conducting business transactions anywhere in the country.

“It is troubling that rather than encouraging the Administration to conclude its national security review of TikTok, some members of Congress have decided to push for a politically-motivated ban that will do nothing to advance the national security of the United States,” ByteDance said in a statement.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Brendan Carr told Fox Business last month that “I think at the end of this week, really the fundamental question has changed,” Carr said. “It’s no longer whether TikTok is going to be banned, in terms of its current operations in the U.S., but a question of when.”
Bryan S. Jung is a native and resident of New York City with a background in politics and the legal industry. He graduated from Binghamton University.
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