Who’s affected by Idaho’s TikTok ban? Universities release new guidance

Idaho

BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Idaho public university students, faculty and visitors can no longer access TikTok on campus internet networks.

That’s after Idaho Gov. Brad Little last week joined more than a dozen other Republican governors in banning the popular social media app from state-owned devices and networks.

Officials at Boise State University and Idaho State University in recent days informed students and faculty that the colleges are required to block access to the app on campus Wi-Fi networks.

Students and student-run clubs can continue to access TikTok on their personal devices using cellular data, the universities said in separate statements.

Little on Wednesday issued an executive order banning the app, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, from state-issued devices and networks. Little said the order would protect Idahoans from security threats posed by the Chinese government. Last month, the FBI warned that Chinese state actors could use the app to spy on Americans.

“The communist Chinese government can use TikTok to collect critical information from our state and federal government,” Little said in a news release. “We are taking this step to protect Idahoans and Americans from the sinister motives of a foreign government that does not share our values and seeks to weaken and manipulate our country.”

The order does not apply to the Idaho legislative or judicial branch or K-12 public schools. Those are not state executive agencies, to which the executive order applies, Emily Callihan, the governor’s spokesperson, said by email.

Executive agencies include the departments of agriculture, commerce, labor, health and welfare, fish and game and others, along with Idaho State Police. Little’s order exempts use of the app for “bona fide investigatory or law enforcement purposes.”

Universities will have to delete TikTok accounts operated by the schools. Some, like a Boise State bookstore account, were still live Monday.

Boise State spokesperson Mike Sharp said it may take a few days to delete all the university’s accounts.

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