Effective immediately, New Jersey is banning TikTok on any and all phones, computers and other electronic devices issued by the state.

The action follows other states banning the popular, Chinese-controlled app from their own government devices.

On Monday afternoon, Gov. Phil Murphy announced the cybersecurity directive, stating “bolstering cybersecurity is critical to protecting the overall safety and welfare of our State, 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.”

According to Laurie Doran, the director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, TikTok is known to have privacy and security vulnerabilities and presents national security concerns.

Last month State Sen. Jim Holzapfel, R-Ocean, and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin, R-Ocean, and John Catalano, R-Ocean, urged the state to ban TikTok from state devices, pointing to concerns among state and federal lawmakers and law enforcement officials.

 Shield against unwanted access

The video-sharing app is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance

"There have been national security concerns about user data the Chinese government might require ByteDance to provide," the state's announcement said.

State officials said TikTok has been known to collect "keystrokes of users, make screen captures every few seconds, access data from the phone’s clipboard, and collect the unique Media Access Control address of the device, among other user information."

NicoElNino ThinkStock
NicoElNino ThinkStock

Who is affected

Under the directive issued by the governor, all departments, agencies, commissions, boards, bodies, or other instrumentalities of the Executive Branch of state government must:

📱 Remove any referenced software products from state-owned, provided, or managed systems and devices

📱 Implement network-based restrictions to prevent the use of, or access to, prohibited software or services

📱 Implement measures to prevent the installation of referenced high-risk software products on state-owned or managed technology assets

📱 Develop and implement plans to include risks associated with referenced high-risk software products and supply chain security into cybersecurity awareness and training programs

Hand holding smartphone recording a dance video in the application.
iNueng GettyImages

Mike Geraghty, the director of the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell said the agency “will continue to monitor for cybersecurity threats and implement best practices and controls to mitigate risks of any emerging threats.”

More than just TikTok

Besides Tik Tok, the state is banning these other products and services:

📱 Huawei Technologies

📱 Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co., Ltd., also doing business as Dahua

📱 Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., Ltd., also doing business as Hikvision

📱 Tencent Holdings LTD, including but not limited to WeChat, QQ, QQ Wallet

📱 Alibaba products, including but not limited to AliPay, Alibaba.com Mobile Apps

📱 Hytera

📱 ZTE Corporation

📱 Kaspersky Lab

Agencies that have public health, safety, welfare, or other compelling State business and public interest reasons for using the prohibited software technologies or services can submit an exception request with the NJCCIC.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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