Texas ban on TikTok for state devices includes MSU Texas

Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 4:51 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - In an effort to counter threats to state cyber security, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has taken action by banning the use of TikTok.

As of Wednesday, state agencies and institutions of higher education were obligated to submit their own policy to enforce this statewide plan. Midwestern State University falls under that category.

The statewide model security plan was developed by the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Department of Information Resources.

Its main purpose is to ban and prevent the download or use of prohibited technologies on any state-issued device. This includes all state-issued cell phones, laptops, tablets, desktop computers and other devices capable of connecting to the internet.

Each agency’s IT department must strictly enforce this ban. This means students will not be able to use TikTok while connected to the university’s Wi-Fi or while using university-owned devices. Students at MSU Texas are not looking forward to its implementation,

“I believe it’s ignorant because I believe it almost infringes on our first amendment, freedom of speech and the university itself uses social media to post stuff, so why is it that students all of a sudden don’t have that right,” MSU Texas student Angel Adams-Case said.

Governor Abbott’s concern with TikTok specifically references that the app is “owned by a Chinese company that employs Chinese communist party members. TikTok harvests significant amounts of data from a user’s device, including details about a user’s internet activity.”

The Texas Tech University System, which is what MSU Texas is under, shared a statement regarding the ban.

“The Texas Tech University System has received the statewide model security plan that was shared by the Governor’s office on Monday, Feb. 6, and was developed by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR),” Texas Tech University System officials said in a statement. “The TTU System Administration and component university leadership teams have worked closely with information technology leaders across the system to develop a prohibited technologies policy that aligns with the guidance provided from DPS and DIR. Each TTU System component university submitted their respective institution’s plan to the state for its approval by the deadline (Feb. 15) provided.”