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CFO Jimmy Patronis Bans TikTok From DFS Devices & Facilities

8/11/2020

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For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842
CFO Jimmy Patronis Bans TikTok From DFS Devices & Facilities
 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis signed Directive 2020-14, which bans the use of TikTok on the Department of Financial Services (DFS) devices and within DFS facilities. This directive comes after reports that TikTok, which is headquartered in Beijing, China, has direct ties to the Communist Party of China and captures vast swaths of information from its users including Internet and other network activity information such as location data, browsing and search history. TikTok’s own privacy policy states that the video-sharing application records keystroke patterns entered on devices that have downloaded the app. Additionally, China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law requires all companies based in China grant on-demand records access to Chinese intelligence agencies.
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “My top priority as Florida’s CFO is to protect our state from fraud and scams, including all major cybersecurity threats. As we’ve seen with the recent unprecedented Twitter hacks, we must take bold action now to protect our data and our devices from these very real security risks. The threat TikTok presents far outweighs any benefit the application could provide to official business of the agency and that is why I have decided to immediately ban the application from DFS devices and use of the app within our facilities. With reports of direct ties to the Communist Party of China, TikTok is a major security risk to the State of Florida and to the United States, and it has no place on state devices.”
 
FULL TEXT OF CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER DIRECTIVE 2020-14:
WHEREAS, the mobile application TikTok, is a video-sharing application, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance Ltd., which has reportedly been downloaded over 175 million times in the United States and over one billion times globally.
WHEREAS, The Company ByteDance Ltd. i.e. Zìjié Tiàodòng is headquartered in Beijing, China.

WHEREAS, TikTok captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data, browsing and search history; and
 
WHEREAS, Tiktok’s privacy policy states that Tiktok records keystroke patterns entered on devices that have downloaded the app; and
 
WHEREAS, Article 16 of China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law authorizes Chinese intelligence officials to “enter relevant restricted areas and venues; learn from and question relevant institutions, organizations and individuals and read or collect relevant files, materials or items.” (emphasis added); and
 
WHEREAS, Department of Financial Services (Department) employees have access to various secure systems including the State Treasury, law enforcement records, and other information made confidential from public disclosure pursuant to Florida Statute; and 
 
WHEREAS, Department Administrative Policy and Procedure 4-04 authorizes the Department to restrict installation of social media platforms on DFS-issued devices; and

WHEREAS, Department Administrative Policy and Procedure 4-04 authorizes the Department DFS to inspect any and all files stored on any network or local IT resource including removable media, such as USB drives, CDs, and tapes; and

WHEREAS, Department Administrative Policy and Procedure 4-04 prohibits the installation, introduction, downloading, access or distribution of (1) Software not specifically licensed to DFS or any affiliated entities, (2) Instant messaging Software, unless such software is approved by the Department; and
 WHEREAS, Department Administrative Policy and Procedure 4-04 prohibits the downloading of malicious software, either through willful intent or negligent action; and

WHEREAS, Employees who choose to access DFS software and platforms from their personal devices, via their personal devices, including email programs and wireless internet networks make their personal phones potential targets for persons and entities looking to penetrate DFS’ information technology systems; and

WHEREAS, In light of the keystroke logging and other information-gathering capabilities of TikTok, the Chief Financial Officer has concluded that the security risks TikTok presents far outweigh any benefit the application could provide to official business of the agency.  

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT I, JIMMY PATRONIS, in accordance with the authority invested in me by Article IV, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution, and Sections 17.30 and 20.121(1), of Florida Statute, hereby issue the following Directive to all employees of the Department:

Section 1.  Downloading, installing, or using the Application TikTok on any DFS-issued device is hereby prohibited.

Section 2. Use of the application TikTok on any personal device on while in any DFS facility during the workday is hereby prohibited. 

Section 3. Violations of this Directive may result in disciplinary action, in accordance with Rule Chapter 60L-36, Florida Administrative Code, and AP&P 5-26, Standards and Procedures of Discipline Career Service Employees. 
A copy of Chief Financial Officer Directive 2020-14 can be found here.