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TikTok banned from school-owned devices at all Florida state universities

<i>Adobe Stock</i><br/>The State University System of Florida Board of Governors has banned the social media app TikTok
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The State University System of Florida Board of Governors has banned the social media app TikTok

By Chris Boyette and Brian Fung, CNN

The State University System of Florida Board of Governors has banned the social media app TikTok, along with some other software, applications, and developers, from use on university-owned devices “due to the continued and increasing landscape of cyber threats.”

In a memo sent to state university system presidents on Wednesday, Chancellor Ray Rodrigues said, “This regulation requires institutions to remove technologies published in the State University System (SUS) Prohibited Technologies List from any university-owned device and to block network traffic associated with these technologies.”

The ban is effective immediately, the memo said.

“Data privacy, particularly concerning student data and faculty research, is a critical priority for the State University System of Florida,” the Board of Governors said in a statement to CNN.

WeChat, Tencent also barred

“Therefore, at a March 29 meeting of the Florida Board of Governors, the Board unanimously approved an emergency regulation prohibiting the use of TikTok and other foreign actors identified as an immediate national security risk, across our 12 public university campuses,” according to the Board of Governors.

In addition to TikTok, the prohibited technologies include Kaspersky, VKontakte, Tencent QQ, WeChat and any subsidiary or affiliate.

CNN reached out to them for comment.

TikTok spokesperson Hilary McQuaide said “TikTok has taken unprecedented actions to address national security concerns by securing U.S. user data on U.S. soil. The best way to address concerns about national security is with the transparent, U.S.-based protection of U.S. user data and systems, with robust third-party monitoring, vetting, and verification, which we are already implementing.”

McQuaide added “TikTok is enjoyed by more than 150 million Americans including university and college students and teachers to engage in the classroom.”

Utah also regulating use

Bans and regulations of TikTok in particular, and of social media sites in general, have been increasing in the US and Europe as concerns over privacy, national security and child safety mount.

Late last month, the governor of Utah signed a bill which requires teens to get parental approval to use social media. Earlier this week, the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office, which regulates data, fined TikTok for a number of breaches of data protection law. Italy is investigating TikTok for “dangerous content.”

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