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US legislators propose bill to ban TikTok on government devices

As more states are going forward with TikTok restrictions, things are about to get official: US legislators formally proposed to ban government employees from using the app on government-owned devices and computer networks.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Senator Josh Hawley, was voted on last week and proposed to bar federal employees from downloading or using TikTok on state devices. TikTok, a short-form video app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, has long faced criticism for the amount of data it collects, which could, according to US lawmakers, pose risks to national security.

The ban is planned to be voted on this week, with the bill allowing the White House Office of Management and Budget 60 days "to develop standards and guidelines for executive agencies requiring the removal" of TikTok from federal devices, according to Reuters.

Already 19 out of 50 states have implemented similar bans against the app. Only last week, Utah and Alabama announced their bans of TikTok on state devices and computers.

"China's access to data collected by TikTok presents a threat to our cybersecurity," Utah Governor Spencer Cox commented in a statement. "As a result, we've deleted our TikTok account and ordered the same on all state-owned devices. We must protect Utahns and make sure that the people of Utah can trust the state's security systems."

TikTok responded in a statement that it was "disappointed that so many states are jumping on the political bandwagon to enact policies based on unfounded falsehoods about TikTok that will do nothing to advance the national security of the United States."

The security concerns stem from various data points obtained by TikTok and how they could be used to potentially surveil or influence American citizens.

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