Citing cybersecurity concerns, University of Texas bans TikTok
The University of Texas bans TikTok on all its networks as it demonstrates that it shares the government's cybersecurity fears regarding the China-owned app.
TikTok has been blocked on the University of Texas' Wi-Fi networks since Tuesday after the university took the decision to demonstrate its support of the US government's decision to ban China-owned cybertechnologies, citing cyber security fears.
In December 2022, the US House of Representatives announced a ban on TikTok for their members and staff due to "security concerns".
On December 7, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a directive barring the use of TikTok on state devices. "TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from its users' devices — including when, where and how they conduct internet activity — and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government," he said.
On Tuesday evening, the University of Texas alongside others, such as Texas A&M, UT-Dallas, and the University of North Texas, all announced that they have either already banned or will be banning TikTok on their networks, the Texas Tribune reported.
The TikTok page of the Texas A&M University Physics and Astronomy Department read, "We no longer post to TikTok."
These universities, as well as others, including some outside of Texas, have begun banning TikTok on government-issued devices distributed to officials across various universities. Furthermore, it has been noted that student and faculty access to the app will also be restricted.
The University of Texas' technology advisor Jeff Neyland said, "The university is taking these important steps to eliminate risks to information contained in the university's network and to our critical infrastructure."
It is worth noting that students can still access TikTok by disconnecting from university networks and using alternative networks.
The application has roughly 80 million users across the US. As such, Jamal Brown, the companies' spokesperson, told Axios that "we're disappointed that so many states are jumping on the political bandwagon to enact policies that will do nothing to advance cybersecurity … and are based on unfounded falsehoods."
Moreover, Brown argued, "We're especially sorry to see … these rushed policies beginning to impact universities' ability to share information, recruit students, and build communities around athletic teams, student groups, campus publications, and more."
Read more: US FCC prohibits Chinese telecom and surveillance equipment