Could Georgia be the next state to ban TikTok on government devices?

Could Georgia be the next state to ban TikTok on government devices?
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 5:44 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - There’s no denying TikTok’s popularity, but could the video-sharing app come to an end in Georgia?

In a release, State Senator Jason Anavitarte announced he plans to introduce legislation to ban TikTok statewide. He also wants to work with Gov. Kemp to craft an executive order prohibiting state employees from installing TikTok on state-owned devices.

TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, which has raised concerns about China’s ability to collect information.

“I like to have people think about the potential risks on a personal level for using any app like this,” said Andy Green.

Green is a cybersecurity researcher at Kennesaw State University and says from a technical standpoint it is possible to ban TikTok on government devices,

“If they have an IT staff in place there are related tools that can be put onto your device before it’s ever issued to you that can prohibit certain behaviors,” said Green.

A growing number of states, including Maryland and Texas, are banning TikTok on government devices over possible national security threats.

But when it comes to a statewide ban in Georgia, Green said a ban could face legal challenges and be very difficult to impose.

“How do you determine a Georgia resident because you cannot do it solely by an IP address, you cannot do it solely by their network that they’re on whether it’s their home network via Comcast or AT&T or a corporate network,” said Green. “There are ways to get around it by using tools like VPNs where I can appear to be coming in from an IP address associated with a different continent if I wanted to.”

TikTok denies it shares data with the Chinese government.

The company said in a statement it collects data similar to other apps and adds the concerns driving these bans are largely fueled by misinformation about our company.