On Monday, the White House directed federal agencies 30 days to remove the Chinese software TikTok from all national devices and systems.
To safeguard U.S. data, all federal agencies must remove TikTok from their phones and systems and prevent internet traffic from reaching the company, according to a guidance memorandum obtained by Reuters.
The restriction, mandated by Congress late last year, is comparable to those taken by Canada, the European Union, Taiwan, and more than half of U.S. states.
While the gadget prohibition only affects a small percentage of TikTok's U.S. users, it fuels calls for a complete ban on the video-sharing app. When a Chinese balloon floated over the United States recently, fears over China's national security increased.
TikTok, which ByteDance owns, has stated that the fears are generated by false information and denied using the software to spy on Americans.
The action does not impact the more than 100 million Americans who use TikTok on personal or business-owned devices. TikTok did not respond immediately to the White House memorandum.
In December, Congress decided to prohibit federal employees from accessing a Chinese video app on government-issued devices and allowed the Biden administration sixty days to publish agency directions. The vote was the most recent step taken by U.S. lawmakers to crack restrictions on Chinese corporations in response to national security concerns that Beijing may use them to spy on Americans.
Chris DeRusha, chief information security officer for the federal government, stated that "this guidance is part of the Administration's ongoing commitment to securing our digital infrastructure and protecting the American people's security and privacy."
Before the vote, the White House, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department had blocked TikTok on government devices.
According to Young's memo, the TikTok restriction does not apply if there are national security, law enforcement, or security research operations, but agency leadership must approve these activities, and "blanket exceptions applying to an entire agency are not permitted."
The House Foreign Affairs Committee is scheduled to vote on a bill on Tuesday that would grant President Joe Biden the right to ban TikTok from all U.S. devices.
"My bill empowers the administration to ban TikTok or any software applications that threaten U.S. national security," said committee chairman Representative Michael McCaul. "Anyone with TikTok installed on their gadget has granted the Chinese Communist Party access to all their data. It's a balloon spying on your phone."
The American Civil Liberties Union opposes a ban on TikTok by Congress.
Within 90 days, agencies must address any usage of TikTok by IT vendors through contracts. Within 120 days, agencies will include a new prohibition on TikTok in any further requests for proposals.
Earlier Monday, Canada announced a ban on using TikTok on government-issued devices, citing "unacceptable" privacy and security risks, further widening the gulf between the two nations.
A spokeswoman for TikTok stated that the Canadian ban was announced "without citing any specific security concern or contacting us with questions,"
Last week, the two largest policymaking entities in the European Union banned TikTok from staff phones for cybersecurity reasons.