DeSoto County moves to ban TikTok from county devices
Add DeSoto County to the list of governmental bodies that feel a phone app should not be on the mobile devices its employees do their work with.
During Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the board voted to ban the TikTok from county-owned phones and other mobile devices used in its workforce.
Tik Tok is a short-term video hosting service which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Users can post short videos on the service that can range in length up to 10 minutes.
Questions and concerns have come up in the past several weeks, however, that the owners of TikTok have close ties with the Chinese Communist government who may be able to use videos from TikTok for intelligence gathering and spying on the United States.
Several states have removed the application from government-owned devices and blocked TikTok from its networks in the past several weeks.
Mississippi became one of those states about a month ago when Gov. Tate Reeves announced a ban on TikTok for state-issued devices and devices connected to state-run networks.
On Monday, Supervisor Mark Gardner started the discussion by stating that President Joe Biden had approved a bill preventing federal employees from using TikTok on government devices. Since then, at least 27 states have followed the federal government’s lead and passed similar prohibitions for state employees, all for concerns about possible spying on them from the Chinese government.
“From what I read and what I researched, the federal government banned it from their government-owned devices and we as a county felt it was to do that as a county,” Gardner said. “That’s why we passed the resolution to ban it from county-owned iPads, computers, cell phones and things like that.”
County IT Director John Mitchell told supervisors that several filters had been installed to block the app some time back, but Mitchell added he can change that to not allowing it on county mobile phones, tablets, laptops and computers if the Board chose to have that happen.
“They maintain our network and they can tell what’s coming through our county devices,” Gardner said. “We have a very savvy IT department as far as their technical capacity.”
With that Gardner moved and Michael Lee seconded a motion to ban TikTok from all county devices. The motion passed on a 5-0 vote.
“TikTok’s parent company is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, meaning they can track your location and keystrokes — very sensitive information,” said Lee. “They don’t need a backdoor into county data, so we took the initiative to block TikTok from all county-issued devices and protect sensitive data from the spying Party of Communist China.”