Two North Carolina state representatives sent a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday, Dec. 28, asking him to ban TikTok from all state government devices.
District 59 NC state Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford) and District 97 state Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) requested that Cooper issue an executive order banning TikTok. They state, “This is matter of national security, and it is imperative that action be taken swiftly and decisively.”
In the letter, Hardister and Saine state, “As we know, the Chinese government is constantly working to infiltrate our communications and access intellectual data within the United States. If sensitive date is breached, it could pose both an economic and a security threat for North Carolina. We have a responsibility to prevent this from happening, which is why we are urging and executive order to be issued as soon as possible.”
The letter notes that other states have already banned TikTok and that it had been banned from devices used by congressional staffers in Washington.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal on Dec. 29, the US House is banning TikTok from all House managed devices including the phones of all House members and their staff. The article reports that TikTok has been banned on Senate devices since 2020.
The $1.7 trillion spending bill passed by Congress last week includes a ban on TikTok on executive branch phones.
Cooper has the authority to issue an executive order immediately. However, if he chooses not to, Hardister and Saine state, “If there is no executive order, we will work swiftly in the upcoming 2023 legislative session to advance legislation to ban TikTok on all government-issued devices in North Carolina.”
The fear is that TikTok owned by company based in Beijing shares the information it gathers on users with the Chinese government.
Hardister is the NC House majority whip and chairman of the House Education-Universities Committee. Saine is senior chairman of the NC House Appropriations Committee and chairman of the Information Technology Oversight Committee.