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Jimmy Patronis. Image via AP.

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Jimmy Patronis bans TikTok from Department of Financial Services’ devices

Employees found in violation can face disciplinary actions.

TikTok is no longer a welcomed application at the Florida Department of Financial Services.

On Tuesday, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis signed a directive prohibiting DFS employees from downloading, installing, or using the popular video app on any department-issued device. He also restricted employees from using the app on personal phones during the workday.

“The threat TikTok presents far outweighs any benefit the application could provide to official business of the agency and that is why I have decided to immediately ban the application from DFS devices and use of the app within our facilities,” Patronis said in a news release. “With reports of direct ties to the Communist Party of China, TikTok is a major security risk to the State of Florida and to the United States, and it has no place on state devices.”

Patronis cited several security concerns with app including a privacy policy allows TikTok to record keystroke patterns and capture “vast swaths of information” from users such as location data, browsing and search history.

Moreover, the provision cited a Chinese National Intelligence law that would allow intelligence officials to “enter relevant restricted areas and venues; learn from and question relevant institutions, organizations and individuals and read or collect relevant files, materials or items.”

According to the directive, employees found in violation can face disciplinary action.

Patronis’ directive days comes after President Donald Trump ordered a ban on business dealings with Byte Dance Ltd., a Beijing-headquartered company that owns TikTok and WeChat. The ban, which came in the form of two executive orders, threatens to remove the apps from app stores by Sept. 15 unless an American company acquires them.

“My top priority as Florida’s CFO is to protect our state from fraud and scams, including all major cybersecurity threats,” Patronis added. “As we’ve seen with the recent unprecedented Twitter hacks, we must take bold action now to protect our data and our devices from these very real security risks.”

Below is a copy of the CFO’s directive.

Click to access CFO-Directive-2020-14.pdf

Written By

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at jason@floridapolitics.com or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.

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