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Army bans TikTok from being used on government-issued devices citing security risk

Army bans TikTok from being used on government-issued devices citing security risk
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The Army is banning soldiers from using the popular TikTok app on government-owned devices, citing a potential security risk.

Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Robin Ochoa told Military.com in an interview this week that the Chinese social media app is “considered a cyber threat.” The regulation comes after the Defense Department and lawmakers have expressed concerns about how the app collects personal data.

The ban follows the Defense Department’s “Cyber Awareness Message” released in mid-December that named TikTok as “having potential security risks associated with its use,” according to Military.com. The Navy also has forbidden TikTok from being used on government-issued phones, The Washington Post reported.

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A department spokesman told the Post that removing TikTok “will not prevent already potentially compromised information from propagating, but it could keep additional information from being collected.”

The concerns revolve around losing personally identifiable data, but a Pentagon spokesperson did not provide additional details to the newspaper. 

The Hill has reached out to TikTok for comment. 

TikTok has taken steps to alleviate security fears by saying it stores U.S. users’ data in Virginia with a backup in Singapore.

The Army had previously used TikTok as a recruitment tool to connect with younger generations. But Sens. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonOvernight Defense: Austin and Milley talk budget, Afghanistan, sexual assault and more at wide-ranging Senate hearing Cotton, Pentagon chief tangle over diversity training in military Media continues to lionize Anthony Fauci, despite his damning emails MORE (R-Ark.) and Charles SchumerChuck SchumerIt's not just Manchin: No electoral mandate stalls Democrats' leftist agenda DOJ to probe Trump-era subpoenas of lawmaker records Democrats demand Barr, Sessions testify on Apple data subpoenas MORE (D-N.Y.) called for an investigation into whether the app was a security risk, since it is owned by China.

Lawmakers intended to question the app’s head, Alex Zhu, when he visited Washington in December, but Zhu canceled the trip, saying there were scheduling issues.