Maryland Announces an Emergency Ban on TikTok

On December 6th, Governor Larry Hogan announced that the State of Maryland has issued an emergency cybersecurity directive to prohibit the executive branch of the state government from the use of certain products and platforms with Communist China and Russia’s influence, including TikTok. These entities could pose an unacceptable level of cybersecurity risk to the state and might engage in activities like cyber espionage, the surveillance of governmental entities, and inappropriate collection of sensitive personal information.

Governor Hogan said the cyber vulnerabilities in support of people’s daily lives pose the greatest threat to personal and national security. As the nation’s cyber capital, Maryland has taken audacious and decisive action to prepare for and deal with cybersecurity threats. This emergency directive will further target these foreign actors and organizations.

The ban applies to TikTok, Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corp and Tencent Holdings, including but not limited to Tencent QQ, QQ Wallet, WeChat, and Alibaba products, including but not limited to Alipay and Kaspersky. Under the directive, state agencies have to remove any of these products from state networks, take measures to prevent the installation of any of them on state networks, and implement network-based control to prevent access to or use of forbidden services.

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