Theis Bill Would Ban TikTok On Michigan Government Devices
January 17, 2023
Jessica Mathews / firstname.lastname@example.org
A local lawmaker has introduced legislation that would ban a popular video-sharing app on government devices.
Republican Senator Lana Theis of Brighton Township sponsored SB 0015. It would ban TikTok from installation and use on all state-issued devices – an app she says has deep ties to the Chinese Communist government.
A press release states TikTok is developed by the Chinese software company ByteDance, which purportedly employs members of the Chinese Communist Party and operates a subsidiary that is partially owned by the party.
Theis stated that TikTok is “state-sponsored spyware” and a “Trojan Horse” for the Chinese Communist Party that presents multiple threats on multiple fronts from state and national security to free speech and mental health.
Theis commented “While some may find it fun, or even as a way to gain notoriety, the fact is, unbeknownst to most users, TikTok harvests sensitive information and transmits it back to the Chinese Communist Party. This is a huge security risk to say the least, and there is no rational reason why any employee of the state of Michigan should be using TikTok on taxpayer-funded, government-issued devices”.
The release states that TikTok mines user devices for data, including their location, contacts, internet activity, and more — data which must be made available to Chinese officials by law. In addition to being a security risk, TikTok is also said to be susceptible to government-sponsored influencing. The FBI recently warned of the Chinese government’s ability to modify the app’s content algorithm and influence U.S. audiences.
Should Theis’ bill become law, Michigan would join 15 other states and the U.S. Congress in approving measures to ban TikTok from government-issued devices.