Maryland bans TikTok, other tech-influenced products

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Maryland bans TikTok, other tech-influenced products

Larry Hogan issued an emergency cybersecurity directive on Tuesday, prohibiting the use of Russian and Chinese-influenced products and platforms like TikTok in the executive branch of the state.

The governor's office said platforms like TikTok present risks to the state, possibly being involved in cyber-espionage, surveillance of government entities, and inappropriate collection of sensitive personal information.

Hogan said there was no greater threat to our personal safety and national security than the cyber vulnerabilities that support our daily lives. Maryland, the cyber capital of America, has taken bold and decisive actions to prepare for and address cybersecurity threats. We are issuing a emergency directive against foreign actors and organizations that seek to weaken and divide us, to protect our systems. The directive doesn't only apply to TikTok, but also applies to ZTE Corp, Tencent Holdings, Alibaba products, and Kaspersky.

Agencies under the executive arm of Maryland s government were ordered to remove the products from state networks, put measures in place to prevent the products from being reinstalled, and implement restrictions on the network that prevents use or access to the prohibited services.

The action is critical in protecting Maryland State's systems from the cyber threats caused by foreign governments, said Chip Stewart, Maryland State Chief Information Security Officer.

The move came more than a week after South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem enacted similar measures, which prohibits the use of TikTok by state agencies, and a day after South Carolina's Gov. Henry McMaster has also banned the app on state devices and networks.

Noem said accessing TikTok would be a criminal offense because the app poses a threat to the state and the personal data of its residents.

South Dakota will not have a role in the intelligence gathering operations of nations that hate us, Noem said in a press release on November 29. The Chinese Communist Party uses information collected on TikTok to manipulate the American people, and they gather data from devices that access the platform.