The end of TikTok, at least on University Wi-Fi networks, seems to be getting closer in Texas. On Tuesday, the University of Texas at Austin notified students and staff that they would no longer be able to access TikTok on university Wi-Fi Networks.
The move comes after Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed state agencies to remove and ban the app from state owned devices. The Governor's directive is due to the amount of data harvesting the app does and the app's relationship to the Chinese Government according to the Texas Tribune.
UT-Austin technology adviser Jeff Neyland wrote to students that it's possible that the Chinese government is collecting sensitive material.
“The university is taking these important steps to eliminate risks to information contained in the university’s network and to our critical infrastructure,” UT-Austin technology adviser Jeff Neyland wrote in the email. “As outlined in the governor’s directive, TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from its users’ devices — including when, where and how they conduct internet activity — and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government.”
Abbott’s Dec. 7 directive stated that all state agencies must ban employees from downloading or using the app on government-issued devices, including cellphones, laptops and desktops, with exceptions for law enforcement agencies. He also directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Department of Information Resources to create a plan to guide state agencies on how to handle the use of TikTok on personal devices, including those that have access to a state employee’s email account or connect to a state agency network.
So, will Texas Tech University follow in the footsteps of UT Austin? I fully expect them to and wouldn't be surprised if it happened this week or next. Since the servers and wi-fi is government owned, they really have no choice.
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