CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — A West Virginia government office Monday joined a growing number of states and state entities to ban TikTok on government-issued devices and networks.
West Virginia State Auditor JB McCuskey issued a directive to his office at noon banning TikTok on state government devices and all computer networks associated with the Auditor’s Office, according to a press release from his office. That ban includes devices used by WV Oasis, which is the central repository for all the state’s financial data, including payroll, and devices within the many departments of the State Auditor’s Office.
This came just hours after Senate Majority Whip Ryan Weld (R-Brooke) wrote a letter to Gov. Jim Justice requesting that he issue an executive order that would prohibit the downloading and use of the Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat on state government phones, computers, and other devices.
The West Virginia Senate’s Director of Communications said that at least 16 other states and several federal agencies have already banned those apps from government devices over security concerns.
Weld’s letter says, in part:
TikTok and WeChat, however popular they may be in the United States, are owned by the Chinese tech companies ByteDance Limited and Tencent Holdings Limited, respectively. Under Chinese law, the Communist government has the legal authority to compel these companies to provide it with data they already collect or may be able to collect through their applications. Having these applications on our government-issued devices presents the all too real potential for the Chinese government to gain access to the information stored on these devices, including personal information, sensitive government data, location services, and browing history.Senate Majority Whip Ryan Weld’s letter to Gov. Jim Justice.
Additionally, The Auditor’s Office release said Auditor McCuskey and Senator Weld are preparing legislation that prohibits nations of concern from acquiring property through the West Virginia property tax sale process. The release said there have already been instances where countries from this list, which includes Russia, China and North Korea, have done so.
Click here to read Weld’s full letter.