Citing cyber security concerns, Maine is banning the use of TikTok on many state-issued computers and cellphones.

What is TikTok?

If you've never seen it, TikTok is a video-sharing app that was developed in China and owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Most of the videos are approximately fifteen seconds long and are made by every day people. The subject matter of the videos varies widely, depending on what message the creator is trying to convey. Some users are occasional visitors while others have created their own TikTok channels and upload multiple videos. It's not the videos, however, that are worrying state and federal officials

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Why Is It Causing Security Concerns?

In recent months, concerns have been raised about the threat this Chinese app could pose to national security. The fear is that it could be used by the Chinese to gather information about the users and manipulate content. And when those users are operating on state or federally issued devices, it could potentially pose a national security risk. The United States government has banned the use of the TikTok app on all federal devices, per order of Homeland Security.

Can I Read the TikTok Directive from the Maine Government Online?

Now, the State of Maine is following suit. A directive, that's available online from the Maine Office of Information Technology, was released this week that spells out the new cyber security laws in relation to TikTok. Starting on February 1st, computers or cellphones that were issued by the state government in the executive branch, or any privately-owned devices that are connected to state instruments or systems will be forbidden to use TikTok. This includes agencies like the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Transportation, and Corrections.

Failure to comply will result in censure and possibly even termination of employment.

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