HELENA - Gov. Greg Gianforte on Friday prohibited the use of the social media app TikTok on state equipment and for state business in Montana.
A news release says that in a memo to state Chief Information Officer Kevin Gilbertson and executive agency directors the governor cited TikTok’s practice of harvesting expansive amounts of data from its users’ devices and offering this information to the Chinese Communist Party.
“Government’s chief responsibility is keeping its citizens safe and secure,” Gianforte wrote. “Use of TikTok on state devices poses a significant risk to the security of our state and Montanans’ sensitive data.”
The governor continued: “Given these grave security concerns, effective immediately, no executive agency, board, commission, or other executive branch entity, official, or employee of the State of Montana shall download or access TikTok on government-issued devices or while connected to the state network.”
“This TikTok ban extends to all state-issued cell phones, laptops, tablets, desktop computers, and other devices capable of internet connectivity, and I direct you to take all necessary steps to block TikTok from being accessed,” the governor continued.
The memo also prohibits any third-party firms conducting business for or on behalf of the State of Montana from using TikTok.
Several other governors have also recently prohibited the use of TikTok on state devices, including South Dakota, Alabama, Utah, and Iowa.
Earlier this week, federal lawmakers announced a bipartisan bid to ban TikTok in the US (details). Last month, FBI director Christopher Wray expressed concerns about the possibility of the popular app TikTok being used to spy on Americans (details).
Gianforte added: “While we take this action as a state today, I also encourage Montanans to protect their personal data and stop using TikTok.”