(KTXL) — A bill to ban certain apps perceived to be security threats from state-issued or -owned phones passed the California Senate with bipartisan support Tuesday.
Senate Bill 74, introduced by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa), would prohibit the app for a social media platform from being downloaded to a state device if a “country of concern” owns or controls the company either directly or indirectly.
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For determining “counties of concern” the bill references the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations which lists China, Russia, and a number of other countries as prohibited from U.S. Defense-related imports or exports.
While the text of the bill does not specifically reference TikTok, the official author comments filed in the Senate repeatedly mention the social media platform by name and its owner ByteDance.
The filing also notes that many of the largest U.S.-based social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter are restricted in China, though not necessarily strictly out of cybersecurity concerns.
“While individual consumers can make their own informed decisions, we cannot let these dangerous applications to be downloaded onto government-issued devices, opening government accounts up to potential security threats,” Senator Brian Jones (R-San Diego) said.
SB 74 includes exceptions for which the otherwise prohibited apps may be downloaded such as for law enforcement activities and for “official communications to the public on behalf of the state entity.”
In November, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Homeland Security Committee that the FBI was concerned about TikTok’s ability to collect data, conduct influence operations, and compromise devices.
Since then, the U.S. Federal Government and a number of states have passed similar laws banning TikTok from state devices.
Montana took the ban a step further, passing a law that would prohibit the app from operating in the state and prohibit app stores from even offering the app to be downloaded.