Michigan Bans TikTok Except For These Glaring Exceptions
More and more states are banning TikTok from the phones of state employees. This has come in response to the growing evidence that officials in the Chinese Communist Party have access to the data the app collects. Who needs a spy balloon when you can access American smartphones?!
While most of the states who have banned TikTok are controlled by Republicans, some Democratic-controlled states have joined them. The latest Democratic-controlled state to ban TikTok from the smartphones of state government employees is Michigan.
There are some glaring exceptions though. State law enforcement will still have access to the app, along with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office.
Without public announcement, Michigan this month joined a tiny number of Democrat-controlled states that block TikTok, the Chinese-owned social video app, from state-owned devices.
“It is banned for state devices,” Jayson Cavendish, Michigan’s acting chief security officer, told MLive in an interview Wednesday.
The change became effective March 1 after having been in a “monitored mode” since March 2020, Cavendish said. People could access it on state devices but had to click through a security warning that discouraged usage.
TikTok’s website is now blocked on browsers, he explained. TikTok’s app can still be downloaded, but it can’t be opened.
There are exceptions, however, for law enforcement, cybersecurity and promotional purposes. That includes Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s popular TikTok account – @BigGretchWhitmer – which has nearly 200,000 followers.
According to Cavendish, Whitmer’s device that she uploads her TikTok videos is a secured device that is not connected to the state’s wireless network nor is it connected to the state’s wireless environment. Whitmer has posted videos to TikTok after the state’s ban went into effect on March 1st. The device Whitmer uses to upload her videos is a state device.
Whitmer’s office claims that the state was one of the first to implement guidelines on TikTok. Her spokesman, Bobby Leddy, says that the state put the website and app in “monitored mode” three years ago.
Whitmer says her device is secured and I have no evidence to suggest otherwise. But this exemption sets a terrible example. Ideally, she should close her account but if she won’t do that she should at least move her TikTok account to either a personally or campaign owned device.
At the end of last year, President Joe Biden legislation banning TikTok for federal employees on federal government-owned devices. The limited TikTok ban was part of the budget omnibus package enacted by Congress. The ban had some limited exceptions such as law enforcement, national security, and security research purposes.
In 2020, former President Donald Trump attempted to completely ban TikTok in the U.S… However, the ban was struck down in federal court.
In December 2022, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) introduced a bill that would completely ban TikTok in the United States. The legislation has drawn bipartisan sponsors in the U.S. House.
Rubio explains why his legislation is important in this appearance on Fox News’s “Special Report.”
This is not a partisan issue nor should it be. This is a national security issue. We simply cannot an enemy of the United States, and the Chinese Communist Party is an enemy of the United States, to allow access to the sensitive data of Americans.
This is not a free speech issue. There are other platforms to upload these types of videos such as Instagram Reels. The problem is the ownership and control of TikTok by the Chinese Communist Party.
We need to ban TikTok now and protect our country.