The Lead

Pa. Senate approves bill banning TikTok on state devices, networks

By: - March 8, 2023 12:47 pm

State Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York (Doug Gross/Senate Republican Communications)

Legislation prohibiting government agencies from downloading and using TikTok on state devices saw approval in the Pennsylvania Senate, moving to the House for consideration.

Lawmakers in the upper chamber unanimously voted 49-0 on Wednesday to send the bill authored by Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York, to the House for consideration. The proposal bans the app — and other services developed by TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance — from state-owned devices and networks, including Wi-Fi.

Some government offices already prohibit employees from using TikTok on state-owned devices. While speaking on the Senate floor, Phillips-Hill called the legislation “a critical step” to improving cybersecurity.

“Our constituents and the people of Pennsylvania’s personal safety and our national security are threatened every single day by cyber vulnerabilities of systems that support our daily lives,” she said. “It is imperative that Pennsylvania takes bold and decisive actions to prepare for and address those cybersecurity threats.”

Following concerns that the social media application poses a security threat, nearly two dozen states — including Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Dakota, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Florida — have acted to ban the application from government-owned devices.

Last week, a U.S. House committee, concerned that the company could collect users’ data and share it with the Chinese government, voted to give President Joe Biden the power to ban TikTok entirely.

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