TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Gov. Gregg Abbott has brought up national security concerns when it comes to the TikTok app and on Dec. 7, he placed a ban on the use of the app on all government-issued devices, including at universities.
Jason Bradley who works at Wizard Electronics in Tyler says he doesn’t trust TikTok, and he believes Abbott is doing the right thing.
“It’s a Chinese-based company, don’t know what they could have done with it, it could very well have spyware, potentially getting access to your contact information or anything else on your phone,” he said.
Bradley says with access to your network they can start pulling documents or other items from your device.
“As soon as you download the app they essentially have access, like it connects to the internet, meaning they have network access, and that will also include local networks access,” he said.
In a statement, UT Tyler said they are trying to stop that from happening and are taking important steps to eliminate risks to the information contained in the university’s networks.
“I use it for my assignment because my assignments can’t be longer than three minutes. The fact that it has been completely banned on campus, you can’t use it on campus wi-fi, or anything is kind of bumming my assignments,” said Kat Schroeder, freshman.
If you are off the school network TikTok comes up just fine, but as soon as you connect to the Wi-Fi network all it will do is load and won’t actually show you any videos.
“I think it’s the best thing for the campus to do because of all the data mining issues,” said Caleb Cox, freshman.
On Tuesday, all schools under the University of Texas system began banning the use of TikTok on all Wi-Fi networks. Tiktok has released a statement about the issue saying they are sorry to see the consequences of what they call “rushed policies” and how it’s beginning to impact universities, and their ability to share information, recruit students and build communities.
“We’re disappointed that so many states are jumping on the political bandwagon to enact policies that will do nothing to advance cybersecurity in their states and are based on unfounded falsehoods about TikTok,” spokesperson Jamal Brown wrote. “We’re especially sorry to see the unintended consequences of these rushed policies beginning to impact universities’ ability to share information, recruit students, and build communities around athletic teams, student groups, campus publications and more.”
We reached out to other East Texas colleges like Stephen F. Austin State University, Tyler Junior College, and Kilgore College. Most say they are still trying to figure out what they are going to do on terms of the ban, and some have already blocked access for staff members.