“China’s access to data collected by TikTok presents a threat to our cybersecurity,” said Gov. Cox 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.”
In the executive order, an agency or employees of an agency may not download or use TikTok’s app or website on any state-owned device. State-owned devices included phones, laptops, tablets, or any other electronic device. The executive order applies to all state executive branch agencies.
“They’re more concerned that there’s going to be data leakage of sensitive information or data that is not associated with funny videos,” BYU associate professor of information systems Justin Giboney said.
According to the Governor’s office, Chinese national security laws allows allow the Chinese government to compel companies headquartered in China to provide it with data, which may include the personal data, intellectual property, or proprietary information of users in the United States and Utah.
TikTok reportedly has more than 100 million users in the United States.
“When you’re signing up for a software that’s free there really is a cost for it, and it comes in the form of sharing your data,” BYU associate professor of computer science Amanda Hughes said.