At a glance.
- TikTok banned from all US government devices.
- Iran’s government imposed internet blackouts impact economy.
- Massachusetts launches Cyber Incident Response Team.
TikTok banned from all US government devices.
The US Congress passed its $1.7 trillion bipartisan spending bill on Friday, and with it a measure declaring that TikTok will be banned from all federal government devices, CNBC reports. The Chinese-owned video-streaming app has been the center of much controversy in recent months, as lawmakers have expressed concerns the platform could be used by Beijing to harvest sensitive US user data or launch influence operations. In response to the passage of the legislation, a TikTok spokesperson stated, “We’re disappointed that Congress has moved to ban TikTok on government devices — a political gesture that will do nothing to advance national security interests — rather than encouraging the Administration to conclude its national security review.”
As the Record by Recorded Future explains, the Chief Administrative Office (CAO) of the House of Representatives last Tuesday announced that TikTok will be banned from all House devices because it has been deemed “a high risk to users due to a number of security risks.” An email from the CAO warned, “If you have the TikTok app on your House mobile device, you will be contacted to remove it.” Ad Law Access notes that multiple states have already banned TikTok from government devices, and at least two higher education institutions have followed suit. Last month Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita filed two complaints focused on the TikTok app alleging violations of the state’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act. The first complaint claims that TikTok uses misleading information to earn lower age restrictions as listed in app stores, and the second alleges that the app intentionally misleads users about the risks posed to their data.
Iran’s government imposed internet blackouts impact economy.
A consortium of US digital rights groups have released an analysis of Iran’s recent internet shutdown, and the report shows that the Iranian government is taking increasingly extreme measures to control its citizens’ access to the web. Though this is far from the first time Iran has imposed such a blackout, the US State Department says the report indicates Iranian lawmakers are feeling more threatened than ever by the recent wave of public protests, which were spurred by the death of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian woman detained by Iran’s morality police. Earlier this month Iranian officials said it would be shutting down the morality police forces, but the restrictive laws are still in place. A State Department spokesperson told WIRED that President Biden’s administration is “committed to helping the Iranian people exercise their universal right to freedom of expression and to freely access information via the internet.”
Massachusetts launches Cyber Incident Response Team.
The US state of Massachusetts has decided to establish its own Cyber Incident Response Team (MA-CIRT) led by the state’s Secretary of the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS). As the Beacon Hill Times explains, according to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s executive order the MA-CIRT’s mission will be to improve the Commonwealth’s ability to prepare for, respond to, mitigate against, and recover from significant cybersecurity threats. Governor Baker explained, “This executive order will further strengthen the Commonwealth’s policies, procedures, and resources required to prevent potential threats and appropriately respond to attacks on government infrastructure and services. As state governments expand their digital footprints, moving more services online and allowing for a more connected workforce, it’s critical that we make the necessary investments to protect this critical technology infrastructure from acts of terrorism and criminal, organized crime, and gang activity.” Secretary of Technology Services and Security Curt Wood will combine his public safety experience with the expertise of cybersecurity and public safety experts from state government bodies including the Commonwealth Security Operations Center, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, and the Commonwealth Fusion Center.