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Noem Bans TikTok from State Devices on Pretext of Fighting China

Governor Kristi Noem took bold action to protect our national security yesterday—oh, no, wait: actually, she just issued an executive order banning South Dakota state employees and contractors from using TikTok on state computers, phones, and tablets:

“South Dakota will have no part in the intelligence gathering operations of nations who hate us,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “The Chinese Communist Party uses information that it gathers on TikTok to manipulate the American people, and they gather data off the devices that access the platform.”

…“Because of our serious duty to protect the private data of South Dakota citizens, we must take this action immediately. I hope other states will follow South Dakota’s lead, and Congress should take broader action, as well,” continued Governor Noem [Office of the Governor, press release, 2022.11.29].

Oh well: so much for SDSU’s effort to market itself on TikTok with an official account that has 9,085 followers. The Department of Tourism also had to nuke its 61,200-follower TikTok account. And just a couple months ago, Governor Noem was sharing TikTok videos and honoring a TikTok star for promoting South Dakota. Is Noem now doing penance for encouraging people to engage in a threat to national security?

As I noted back in September when Congressman Dusty Johnson made a fuss about TikTok, we should be more alarmed that state employees are noodling around on TikTok during work than that they are using an app that provides the Chinese just one more way to access our data. Why is any state employee spending any time making goofy little videos on any social media platform during office hours?

And if we’re worried about the Chinese or any other foreign power getting our sensitive data (taco recipes? predilections for puppies?), has the Governor checked where all of our employees’ phones are made? Has the Governor expressed any concern about the sensitive data about state employees and operations that Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter can capture and make available to bad actors?

The order does not prevent state employees from accessing TikTok on non-state devices, meaning the Red Chinese Menace can continue tracking the data, keystrokes, and location of all those state employees who use TikTok on their personal phones.

As usual, Governor Noem is neither profound nor original. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts banned TikTok from state devices over two years ago. Several federal agencies have also booted TikTok from their devices. Right-wing FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr called for banning TikTok at the beginning of the month (this is the same FCC Commissioner who thinks that Elon Musk having access to all of your data on Twitter is hunky-dory).

As usual, Governor Kristi Noem isn’t promulgating thoughtful, comprehensive, effective policy. She’s just jumping onto the latest bandwagon to keep her name in the news.

25 Comments

  1. sx123 2022-11-30

    lmao! As if there’s a lot of intelligence to gather on tik tok…

  2. scott 2022-11-30

    The last sentence sums it up. She is just trying to stay in the spotlight.

  3. Jenny 2022-11-30

    LoL! How can she say that with a straight face?
    Scott, she must be vying for another SNL spoof.

  4. Donald Pay 2022-11-30

    I use WeChat, a China-based app, to communicate with my daughter. I don’t worry too much about China spying on me, but I do worry about them spying on my kid. Some of our conversations veer into touchy issues, such as Hong Kong, the Muslim minorities, lifting term limits for China leaders, etc. We sometimes use euphemisms to get around the spies. The young in China have gotten very good at dodging the spies and censors.

    I don’t have a problem if tech specialists with SD government or under contract suggested dropping TikTok over security concerns, but I do have a problem with doofus politicians censoring the internet for political reasons. In the absence of any factual basis for her actions, I assume this is just more of Noem’s attention-seeking behavior.

    SDSU has a fairly decent global affairs outreach program from what my daughter says. She was involved in some sort of on-line project that got a number of people in various countries talking about food security. She said SDSU participated in this project. I think it’s probably a form of academic unfreedom to censor TikTok at academic institutions.

  5. grudznick 2022-11-30

    Why in Satan’s name would government employees be doing the TikTok dances when they are on the clock?

  6. Mark Anderson 2022-11-30

    Those wiley Chinese, now they’ll never get Mao on Mt. Rushmore.

  7. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-11-30

    Welp, just another gubernatorial executive order issued by Kristi Lynn which reads like a nastygram written by a dull, petulant, eleven year old with second grade writing skills.

    Aaaaargh. Why can’t South Dakota have a literate, adult governor? Did she stomp her widdle Kowgirl Kristi boots when dictating her little diatribe?

    It’s enough to make me support that nasty, sneaky Chinese Communist Party, stealing our intelligence gathering operations and precious TikToks.

  8. P. Aitch 2022-11-30

    Below, in the next comment box, you’ll see my response to MAGA Noem and others with intentions of limiting choices for Americans.
    (*It’s a blank white piece of paper …)

  9. Jackie 2022-11-30

    She has done everything but follow through on her promise to repeal the grocery tax.

  10. Mark Anderson 2022-11-30

    Bonnie, I wouldn’t mind if the Chinese called me on my birthday. I’m used to many, many, calls from India. So they know what I like from Tik Tok. I’m not on it anyway, maybe I’ll join now. I am a Markist after all.

  11. ska sunka 2022-11-30

    To address Mr. grudznick’s concern – TikTok is a medium by which admissions offices can recruit students. High school students rarely use Facebook and they even more rarely use email. TikTok is the place to be if you are a high school senior interested in attending college.

  12. grudznick 2022-11-30

    So the Chinese are intercepting high school seniors’ college applications? That’s a little frightening. I still say no state government employees should be doing the TikTok Dance like Governor Noem’s mom did in the campaign commercials with the phones and computers paid for with grudznick’s tax dollars. Even if the Chinese aren’t sniffing the telephone lines.

  13. grudznick 2022-11-30

    grudznick is just not hip. My granddaughter explained that the kids just view the solicitations on the TikToc and they don’t actually TikToc the college applications over the Chinese sniffed/infiltrated lines. It is like the Twitter, I am told, but with bigger pictures. Thank you for assisting, Mr/Ms Ska Sunka. I have learned my new thing for the week.

  14. Jake 2022-11-30

    Smoke, Mirrors, and Obfuscation = the GOP non-existent party platform.

  15. larry kurtz 2022-11-30

    Anyone who believes the DCI knows less about the average South Dakotan than the Chinese do is delusional.

  16. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-11-30

    Mark Anderson:

    I love your “Markist” statement.

    I don’t belong to any social media sites other than this, because I can embarrass myself plenty enough right here.

  17. sx123 2022-11-30

    Instead, Noem should have promoted the use of Tik Tok to promote South Dakota. Zero cost advertising that reaches _a lot_ of people.
    Not thinking. Come on Governor, get with the times.

  18. grudznick 2022-11-30

    Mr. Sx123, do you really want your government employees TikTok dancing while they are at work on government computers? If so you must also want them playing on gambling sites and looking at naughty pictures. I say they need to buckle down and get to work, push those papers, and work damn harder for the money we pay them.

  19. Bill Stocker 2022-12-01

    Can her son, and his friends simultaneously fly on the state’s airplane while on TikTok?

  20. John Dale 2022-12-01

    Good.

    Now do smart phones for minors.

  21. larry kurtz 2022-12-01

    Huh. So, Jason Ravnsborg had TikTok loaded on his state phone and was surfing it in the minutes before he killed Joe Boever. Got it.

  22. larry kurtz 2022-12-13

    God goddess: doesn’t anyone remember Bendagate when Chinese nationals were given green cards for next to nothing?

  23. grudznick 2022-12-13

    I remember it, Lar, like it was just yesterday. But they paid a handsome $500 chiliad, if I recall, and then blended into the wind like that bong smoke.

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