Virginia Tech professor explains recent TikTok and WeChat ban on government technology – WDBJ

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) – Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin Friday banned TikTok and WeChat on state government technology, specifically apps developed by “ByteDance Limited” and “Tencent Holdings Limited.”
Dr. James Ivory is a professor in Virginia Tech’s school of communication. Ivory explained this isn’t the first time a ban like this has happened.
“This is a theme that’s played out before in 2020. Then-President Trump issued essentially a very similar ban and almost the same ban, of state use of these platforms. And in 2021, current President Joe Biden sort of watered down that ban a little, maintained some scrutiny, but lifted the ban on actual apps.”
The worry continues to be about Chinese access to American data.
“Not necessarily, because the belief is that these companies are up to no good, but that it would be very easy for the Chinese government to apply pressure to them to get out American’s data.”
Ivory said it all comes down to the safety of data and states have the right to make this decision on government employee devices and WiFi.
”I think the concerns at a state level are justified, that this is a country with which we do a lot of business, but also a country with which we have a lot of tension.”
US Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) released a statement showing his support for these bans on government devices.
“As a former governor and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I’m glad to see that Virginia has banned TikTok on government devices. TikTok has the stamp of approval of the Chinese Communist Party and it poses a serious national security threat due to its data collection practices and its ability to reach and manipulate Americans. I hope to see more states take action to keep our government technology out of the CCP’s reach.”
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