Salt Lake County bans TikTok on government devices

Mar 17, 2023, 8:30 PM | Updated: 8:33 pm
FILE - The TikTok app logo appears in Tokyo on Sept. 28, 2020. U.S. government bans on Chinese-owne...
FILE - The TikTok app logo appears in Tokyo on Sept. 28, 2020. U.S. government bans on Chinese-owned video sharing app TikTok reveal Washington’s own insecurities and are an abuse of state power, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023.(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)
(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Council voted last week to ban TikTok on devices it owns, becoming the latest government entity to limit use of the app.

TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, has been under increased scrutiny by American politicians because, under Chinese national security law, the company could be compelled to turn over intellectual property and proprietary information of U.S. users to the Chinese government.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said it’s “no secret that everyone’s concerned about China right now,” and while county employees will still be allowed to use the app on their personal devices, she believes it’s appropriate for the government to put some restrictions in place.

“Tensions are heightened, and I think it’s a tough one,” Wilson said. “You want people to enjoy life in the U.S. and the amenities that it provides, but I do think that there’s some caution that we do need to take at this particular moment.”

Under the new policy, county employees “are not permitted to install, access or use the TikTok application or related internet or social media services on any county IT resource or system,” including county-issued phones and tablets.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox issued a similar executive order in December, prohibiting state agencies or agency employees from downloading or using the app on state-owned phones, computers, laptops and tablets.

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Salt Lake County bans TikTok on government devices