Texas Gets It Right By Banning Tik Tok From Government Devices
Texas governor Greg Abbott says and does some things that I don't agree with wholeheartedly. His refusal to consider pardons for low-level marijuana offenses, for example. That just feels petty to me.
But I absolutely think he made the right call banning Tiktok from government devices.
"The threat of the Chinese Communist Party to infiltrate the United States continues to grow. While the federal government holds the ultimate responsibility for foreign policy issues, the State also has the responsibility and opportunity to protect itself..."
Do I think the Chinese government created Tiktok with the sole purpose of spying on Americans? I do not. Do I think it's a tool to spread Communist propaganda? Also no. Do I think teenagers lip-synching and dancing is useful information that could lead to the downfall of Western civilization? Maybe? Regardless, Abbot is still making the right call.
Let's think of it this way.
You live in a decent neighborhood. You know all your neighbors' names, but you don't get along with all of them that well. You know some of them say nasty things about you, and to be honest, you have tipped over a couple of trash cans out of spite and you have let your dog poop without picking it up once or twice. Your neighbors are about as well-behaved as you are, except for your neighbor Canada, who would rather die than leave a mess. Are you leaving the doors to your house unlocked? Absolutely not.
Tiktok, like all social media apps, collects personal data on some level. And even if Tiktok had zero interest in doing anything nefarious with your information, they would have to turn it over if requested.
A law in China requires businesses to help that government in intelligence work, including data sharing.
This is absolutely a case of better safe than we can never watch Winnie the Pooh again. If Tiktok gained government data from a government device and used it against us, that would be our fault for lacking basic cyber-security awareness. And government employees can tool around on Tiktok on their own devices if they have hours to through into the void after work.