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Maryland Governor prohibits government agencies from using TikTok

The "emergency cybersecurity directive" prohibits the use of several platforms, including TikTok, QQ Wallet, Alibaba and more.

MARYLAND, USA — Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued a directive Tuesday prohibiting the use of certain products and platforms for the executive branch of state government, including TikTok.

According to a release from the governor's office, the emergency cybersecurity directive comes as the products and platforms are believed to present an "unacceptable level of cybersecurity risk to the state, and may be involved in activities such as cyber-espionage, surveillance of government entities, and inappropriate collection of sensitive personal information." 

Hogan says there is no greater threat to national security than these cyber vulnerabilities.

“As the cyber capital of America, Maryland has taken bold and decisive actions to prepare for and address cybersecurity threats," said Hogan. "To further protect our systems, we are issuing this emergency directive against foreign actors and organizations that seek to weaken and divide us.”

The directive was issued Tuesday by Maryland's Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). It applies to:

  • TikTok
  • Huawai Technologies
  • ZTW Corp
  • Tencent Holdings
  • Tencent QQ
  • QQ Wallet
  • WeChat
  • Alibaba Products such as Ali Pay and Kaspersky

The directive calls for agencies to remove any of these products from state networks, the implementation of measures to stop any future installation of these products and agencies must implement network-based restrictions to prevent the use of, or access to, prohibited services.

“This action represents a critical step in protecting Maryland State systems from the cybersecurity threats caused by foreign organizations,” said State CISO Chip Stewart.

Maryland's governor is not the first state official to call out the social media platform. FBI Director Christopher Wray has said that TikTok is a threat to national security. 

“The Chinese government has shown a willingness to steal Americans’ data on a scale that dwarfs any other," said Wray.

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