Administrators for President Biden are finally beginning to take the threats from China more seriously than they previously have. Armed with further evidence of China’s spy activities with the recent discovery of multiple spy “weather balloons” they are finally willing to stop handing them over access to government devices. With only 30 days to eliminate the app from their phones, many employees are not happy.
Representatives of the Office of Management and Budget claimed the actions were a “critical step forward in addressing the risks presented by the app to sensitive government data.” Agencies like the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and multiple State agencies have already put these restrictions on their devices. Now with the administration order, it will be enforced across the board.
Following a trend started in the White House, President Biden was heavily praised by Chris DeRusha, the federal chief information security officer. “The Biden-Harris Administration has invested heavily in defending our nation’s digital infrastructure and curbing foreign adversaries’ access to Americans’ data. This guidance is part of the Administration’s ongoing commitment to securing our digital infrastructure and protecting the American people’s security and privacy.”
This brownnosing and audible pop from Biden comes after Congress passed the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act” back in December 2022 as a part of a sweeping government spending package, but it allows for its use in national emergencies, law enforcement, and research purposes.
Meanwhile, TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter said in a Tweet on Monday: “The ban of TikTok on federal devices passed in December without any deliberation, and unfortunately that approach has served as a blueprint for other world governments. These bans are little more than political theater.”
Next up a proposal authorizing Biden to make that call will face a tough conservative House but should easily pass through. With Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX) proposing it, there is already heavy support behind the action from the onset. It would also prevent challenges in the courts should the social media empire try to question the decision.
There is a bit of a slippery slope to this idea that the Biden administration rigged in there. It would allow the administration to ban not only the Chinese-owned TikTok but also any software application it finds could pose a threat to national security.
McCaul has been incredibly vocal about the app. In a statement issued on February 27th, he explained how the app was an invitation for the Chinese Communist Party to “manipulate and monitor its users while it gobbles up Americans’ data to be used for their malign activities. Anyone with TikTok downloaded on their device has given the CCP a backdoor to all their personal information. It’s a spy balloon into your phone.”
Oberwetter took a much more “rose-colored glasses” approach to the situation. “We hope that when it comes to addressing national security concerns about TikTok beyond government devices, Congress will explore solutions that won’t have the effect of censoring the voices of millions of Americans.”
Her refusal to even acknowledge that the app is dangerous or is a massive invasion is absurd, as she knows full well just how much of your data the company siphons off from users. Owned by Chinese company ByteDance Ltd. the app is on 2/3 of phones belonging to American teens. Nobody is stopping them, nor government employees. Oberwetter makes it sound like the Federal government has millions of employees who have been issued government devices. Or even that have such apps on their government devices.
This should be a no-brainer from the start. Unless they are a public affairs officer or have another official account as a representative of the American government, there is no need to have the application on their government-issued phone. They already have their personal device they can create an account on. Nobody is stopping that.