Wisconsin Spotlight | Dec. 8, 2022
By Heather Smith, MacIver Institute
MADISON — This week, members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation asked Gov. Tony Evers to ban the app TikTok on state devices based on concerns it is a surveillance tool designed to track users’ data, including when they are not actively using the app. Concerns are not just related to putting potentially sensitive government information at risk, but also that information collected about individual government employees could make them more susceptible to pressure or blackmail.
Concerns with the popular app are not new or based in just one party. In 2019, TikTok’s parent company paid a nearly $6 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission for collecting personal information from minors. In July 2020 then-President Donald Trump suggested a ban on the app. Later that month, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden told his campaign staff to delete TikTok from their work and personal phones just weeks before the New York Times published an article revealing the browser inside the app was built to track every keystroke made by users.