Biden administration bans TikTok from all federal agencies' devices

All federal agencies must remove TikTok from phones and systems and prohibit internet traffic from reaching the company in an effort to keep US data secure.

The Biden administration on Monday reportedly instructed government agencies to ensure they do not have Chinese-owned TikTok app on federal systems and devices within 30 days.

Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young told agencies in a guidance memorandum obtained by Reuters that all federal agencies must remove TikTok from phones and systems and prohibit internet traffic from reaching the company in an effort to keep US data secure.

According to the memo from the White House, agencies had 90 days to address any use of TikTok by IT vendors through contracts and with 120 days agencies will include a new prohibition on TikTok in all new solicitations.

The ban was ordered by Congress at the end of 2022 and follows similar directives enacted by Canada, the EU, Taiwan and over half the states in the US in response to fears that Beijing could use it to spy on Americans.

In December, Congress voted to bar federal employees from using the Chinese-owned app on government-owned devices and gave the Biden administration 60 days to issue directives to agencies.

The White House, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and many other government agencies had already banned TikTok from government devices before the vote.

Calls have been increasing for bans on the app in response to national security concerns about China which have spiked recently after a Chinese balloon flew across the US.

Federal Chief Information Security Officer Chris DeRusha told Reuters, "this guidance is part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to securing our digital infrastructure and protecting the American people’s security and privacy."

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a bill that would give President Joe Biden the authority to ban TikTok from all US devices.

Committee chair Congressman Mike McCaul, said "My bill empowers the administration to ban TikTok or any software applications that threaten U.S. national security. Anyone with TikTok downloaded on their device has given the (Chinese Communist Party) a backdoor to all their personal information. It’s a spy balloon into your their phone."

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