Cooper bans use of TikTok, other apps on state devices

Published 8:53 am Sunday, January 15, 2023

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On Jan. 12, 2023, Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order prohibiting the use of certain applications and websites on state devices including computers and mobile phones. The order directs the state’s chief information officer and the North Carolina Department of Information Technology to develop a policy within 14 days that prohibits the use of TikTok, WeChat and potentially other applications on state agency information technology systems in a manner that presents an unacceptable cybersecurity risk.

“It’s important for us to protect state information technology from foreign countries that have actively participated in cyberattacks against the United States,” said Cooper. “Protecting North Carolina from cyber threats is vital to ensuring the safety, security, privacy, and success of our state and its people.”

Cybersecurity professionals have identified TikTok and WeChat as high-risk applications due to their lack of sufficient privacy controls and connections to countries that sponsor or support cyber-attacks against the United States.

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Several government entities in the United States, including multiple branches of the United States military, the Transportation Security Administration and other states, have banned TikTok, WeChat and other applications on federal and state government information technology.

The department’s policy will be able to be updated in the future if additional high-risk applications and websites are identified by state cybersecurity experts.

“I’m deeply concerned about data security and privacy on social media platforms,” said N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein. “We, not social media companies, should be able to make decisions about what and how much we share, who we share it with, and how it is used. I’m pleased that Gov. Cooper is taking steps to help make the business of our government more secure. I’ll continue my work to keep people and their data safe online, especially when it comes to my investigations into how social media platforms affect our children.”