Texas to ban TikTok on all devices used to conduct state business

Two months after announcing a ban of TikTok on Texas government-issued devices, Governor Greg Abbott released a statewide security plan to address what he calls "vulnerabilities presented by the use of TikTok and other software."

On Monday, a new plan was released that would ban the download or use of TikTok and other banned software and hardware on any state-issued cell phones, laptops, tablets, desktop or anything else that can connect to the internet.

The nine-page model developed by DPS and the Department of Information Resources is a blueprint for state agencies to create their own policy to support the plan. 

It would also prohibit any state employees or contractors from doing state business on personal devices with TikTok downloaded on them.

The plan also would implement network-based restrictions to prevent the use of TikTok on agency networks by any device and prevent personal devices with TikTok from being used in sensitive locations and meetings.

MORE: Dallas ISD to ban TikTok from district WiFi, devices

Governor Abbott told all state agencies that they will have until Feb. 15 to update its policies.

TikTok, is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance Ltd., and Chinese law mandates that companies share their data with the Chinese Communist Party upon request. 

Gov. Abbott raised concerns that the app could be used by the Chinese government to hack into U.S. information and infrastructure in the U.S.

While TikTok representatives have insisted that users' data are safe, executives for the company have admitted under oath that the data is accessible from China.

"TikTok harvests significant amounts of data from a user’s device, including details about a user’s internet activity. Other prohibited technologies listed in the statewide model plan also produce a similar threat to the security of Texans," said Gov. Abbott in a statement.  "It is critical that state agencies and employees are protected from the vulnerabilities presented by the use of this app and other prohibited technologies as they work on behalf of their fellow Texans." 

READ MORE: Gov. Abbott orders TikTok ban for all Texas state agencies

After Abbott’s announcement in December, colleges like the University of North Texas, UT Arlington and UT Austin prohibited the use of the social media app on campus Wi-Fi. It does not mean the app is banned for students or staff personal devices. 

Along with prohibiting downloads of TikTok on state-issued devices, the new statewide model also bans the use of certain devices for government business, and it applies to people who work directly for the state or contractors.

It also expanded the list of banned apps, and it banned devices and technology made by certain Chinese-owned companies like Huawei and ZTE.

The statewide plan also wants state agencies to identify sensitive locations, meetings or personnel that could be exposed to prohibited devices. 

State agencies also have to implement network-based restrictions to prevent the use on agency networks. 

There are narrow exceptions for law enforcement investigations. 

The model says, if possible, cameras and microphones should be disabled. 

Each agency has to submit its policy DPS.

It’s unclear what the penalty will be if an agency fails to comply with the deadline or if someone is caught still using banned software.