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Maryland Governor Cracks Down on 'Unacceptable' Cybersecurity Risk in State

There is one area in politics where Republicans and (at least some) Democrats have come to an agreement.

"This is not something you would normally hear me say, but Donald Trump was right," Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said recently about TikTok.

Indeed, the FCC and FBI are sounding the alarm, too. 

"China's vast hacking program is the world's largest, and they have stolen more Americans' personal and business data than every other nation combined," FBI Director Christopher Wray said recently about the threat posed by China. 

"They include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users or control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations if they so choose or to control software on millions of devices, which gives the opportunity to potentially tactically compromised personal devices," Wray said about the dangers of TikTok.  

The risk is so great that Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday banned China and Russia-based products and platforms among state employees, including the popular app. 

"These entities present an unacceptable level of cybersecurity risk to the state, and may be involved in activities such as cyber-espionage, surveillance of government entities, and inappropriate collection of sensitive personal information," Hogan's office said of the directive by the state's Chief Information Security Officer, which applies to TikTok, Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corp, Tencent Holdings, WeChat, Alibaba, AliPay, and Kaspersky.

"There may be no greater threat to our personal safety and our national security than the cyber vulnerabilities that support our daily lives," added Hogan. "As the cyber capital of America, Maryland has taken bold and decisive actions to prepare for and address cybersecurity threats. To further protect our systems, we are issuing this emergency directive against foreign actors and organizations that seek to weaken and divide us."

The move to crack down on TikTok follows similar decisions by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, both of whom have announced a ban on TikTok for state employees over security risks. 

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