Bill to limit use of TikTok, other social media heads to governor’s desk

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

The Georgia Senate voted unanimously to send to the governor’s desk a bill to ban social media services such as TikTok from state devices if they’re owned by “foreign adversaries” including China.

Senate Bill 93, which received unanimous support throughout the legislative process, is the latest state effort to crack down on the possibility that foreign countries could snoop on state government data through social media apps.

Gov. Brian Kemp previously issued a directive prohibiting employees in the state’s executive branch from using TikTok, WeChat and Telegram on state devices. The measure approved Monday would put those restrictions into state law.

The bill applies to all state devices used by K-12 public school employees and by employees in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. The bill wouldn’t ban use of apps in colleges and universities.

Under the bill, which doesn’t mention TikTok by name, the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency would be required to maintain a list of “foreign adversaries” that includes China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Russia to decide which social media sites should be prohibited.

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is based in Beijing, and Chinese law requires businesses to share data with the country’s government.

The social media platforms would still be allowed in law enforcement investigations, cybersecurity research and judicial proceedings.