Ensuring the security and protection of Hunterdon County government’s information technology network and systems, as well as safeguarding privacy, the County’s Board of Commissioners have banned access on all county electronic devices to the video-based social media platform Tik Tok which is owned by the China based company ByteDance.
Commissioner Susan J. Soloway, the Board’s liaison to the IT Department, stated, “Protection of the county’s IT network and systems is vital for the effective operation of county government. The Tik Tok platform is a security risk, as recently the FBI Director stated that the Chinese government could use the app to influence users or control their devices.
Additionally, there is no reason for County employees to be engaging Tik Tok on county devices and during the workday. Therefore, we are taking two actions. First to have the IT Department prevent access to Tik Tok and second to prohibit employees from accessing the platform during work hours.”
Commissioner Shaun C. Van Doren pointed out, “Governor Phil Murphy has recently banned Tik Tok from state electronic devices. In his statement the Governor noted an analysis of the TikTok app has found it can collect keystrokes of users, make screen captures every few seconds, access data from the phone’s clipboard, and collect the unique Media Access Control (MAC) address of the device, among other user information. This is most concerning.”
Van Doren noted, “We are aware Tik Tok is popular, and many will wish to access the app on their own devices and time, which is an individual’s prerogative. However, all users should be aware of the warnings out there.”
A resolution, approved by the Hunterdon Board at its February 21st meeting, directs the County’s IT Department to ensure there can be no access to Tik Tok on county electronic devices and in county facilities, and also amends the County’s IT Policy to prohibit employees from accessing the social media app.