(Mark Pellin, Headline USA) In response to warnings from federal officials that the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok was a security threat, South Carolina Republican Gov. Henry McMaster on Monday moved to ban it from all state government electronic devices.
Calling it a “clear and present danger to its users,” McMaster in a letter to the state’s administrative director wrote that “Protecting our State’s critical cyber infrastructure from foreign and domestic threats is key to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens and businesses.”
“Federal law enforcement and national security officials have warned that TikTok poses a clear and present danger to its users, and a growing bi-partisan coalition in Congress is pushing to ban access to TikTok in the United States,” McMasters wrote.
The letter sought Department of Administration Executive Director Marcia Adams’s help blocking the popular social media platform. The department is responsible for maintaining standard government functions such as internet services, managing mobile devices, computers and other online devices at state agencies focusing on cybersecurity, according to the governor’s office.
Several of the state’s agencies still operate in rouge fashion when it comes to securing electronic devices, McMasters wrote in requesting help to corral them for the TikTok ban.
“The General Assembly has recognized the dangers and inefficiencies of our State’s ‘siloed’ cyber infrastructure and has encouraged state agencies to partner with the department,” the letter stated.
“Unfortunately, there are a number of state agencies who continue to operate in a silo. I ask that you provide my office with a listing of state agencies for whom the department is unable to permanently block access to TikTok.”
McMasters wants that remedied and TikTok banned. When the ban takes hold, McMasters will become the second Republican governor in recent weeks to ban the app. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem recently mandated that all state government employees stop using TikTok, a directive that would cover government-issued devices.
“South Dakota will have no part in the intelligence gathering operations of nations who hate us,” Noem said in a statement. “The Chinese Communist Party uses information that it gathers on TikTok to manipulate the American people, and they gather data off the devices that access the platform.”