Maryland Gov. 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.
In a press release, 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.
“There may be no greater threat to our personal safety and our national security than the cyber vulnerabilities that support our daily lives,” Hogan said in the release. “As the cyber capital of America, Maryland has taken bold and decisive actions to prepare for and address cybersecurity threats. To further protect our systems, we are issuing this emergency directive against foreign actors and organizations that seek to weaken and divide us.”
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The directive is not just focused on TikTok, but also applies to ZTE Corp, Huawei Technologies, 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 prevent use or access to the prohibited services.
“This action represents a critical step in protecting Maryland State systems from the cybersecurity threats caused by foreign governments,” Maryland State Chief Information Security Officer Chip Stewart said.
SOUTH DAKOTA GOV. NOEM BANS TIKTOK FOR STATE AGENCIES, SAYS APP ‘INTELLIGENCE GATHERING’ OPERATION
The move comes more than a week after South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem enacted similar measures, prohibiting the use of TikTok by state agencies, and a day after South Carolina’s Gov. Henry McMaster 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.
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“South Dakota will have no part in the intelligence gathering operations of nations who hate us,” Noem said in a press release on Nov. 29. “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.”