Alaska joins more than a dozen states banning TikTok on state devices

A ochre and white concrete building in a greay cloudy day
The Alaska Capitol in 2021. (Nat Herz/Alaska Public Media)

Gov. Mike Dunleavy banned the use of the social media app TikTok on all state-owned devices Friday.

In a memo sent to state commissioners and executive staff, Dunleavy cited national security concerns about the app, which is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance. Last month the FBI warned Congress that the Chinese government could potentially use TikTok to collect American users’ data or control their devices. 

Dunleavy spokesperson Jeff Turner wrote in an email that the state is not aware of any security breaches caused by TikTok at this time. He said the governor issued the ban as a “preemptive measure.”

According to the press release, all state entities are banned from downloading or using the TikTok app on state-owned devices or visiting the TikTok website on the state network. The governor’s announcement did not mention any specific enforcement measures for keeping TikTok off of government devices. However, Turner said the state’s information technology office regularly monitors network activity and security to enforce such policies.

Last month President Joe Biden approved a similar ban on TikTok on federal devices. Dunleavy joins more than a dozen Republican governors who have also passed TikTok bans within state governments.

President Donald Trump attempted to ban the app completely in the U.S., but was blocked in court two years ago. Republican lawmakers introduced a bill to revive the nationwide ban in November.

Kavitha George is the host of Alaska Morning News at Alaska Public Media. She also reports on business, labor and the economy. Reach her at kgeorge@alaskapublic.org.

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