December 09, 2022 | Blog, Students

Abbott to Stop the Tok

by Taylor Garner

On December 7, 2022, Governor Greg Abbott ordered all Texas state agencies to ban the use of TikTok on any government-issued devices. In his letter to state agencies, Abbott ordered every state agency in Texas to ban its officers and employees from downloading or using TikTok on any of its government-issued devices.  The TikTok ban extends to all state-issued cell phones, laptops, tablets, desktop computers, and other devices capable of internet connectivity and must be strictly enforced by each agency’s IT department.

In addition to the application being banned from all government-issued devices, Abbott directed the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) to develop a model plan that other state agencies can deploy concerning the use of TikTok on personal devices. The model plan will be presented to the Office of the Governor (“OOG”) and circulated to all other state agencies for their use on or before January 15, 2023. Each state agency will then have until February 15, 2023, to present OOG and DPS with its policy governing the use of TikTok on personal devices. Upon approval by the DPS Cyber Security division, the state agency shall promptly implement that policy for its employees, contractors, and facilities.

In a similar letter to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Abbott highlights the importance of “passing legislation to make permanent the directive [he has] issued to state agencies… applicable to local government.” At this time, it appears that this Order is applicable only to state agencies, not local government.

While there does not appear to be any immediate action required by school districts under this Order, our firm recommends implementing network-based restrictions to prevent the use of TikTok on any personal device connected to district wireless internet in order to safeguard the district’s sensitive information and critical infrastructure. Should you have questions regarding this Order, please contact the attorneys at Leasor Crass, P.C. for further information.

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