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Houston Universities Prepare for Texas TikTok Ban to Take Effect

Houston universities are responding to the Governor’s directive by the February 15 deadline.

HOUSTON — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on TikTok on government devices and services goes into effect next month, and public universities are already beginning the process of restricting access to the app.

The governor cited security concerns with a Chinese company that could compromise government information as a reason for banning the app.

TikTok is now blocked at several public universities across the state.

“Yeah, it’s understandable why they banned TikTok,” said George Lieng, a student at the University of Houston.

TikTok is a mobile video sharing app owned by a Chinese firm.

In December, Governor Abbott issued the following press release, which provides some insight into the decision:

“TikTok collects massive amounts of data from its users’ devices, including when, where and how they are online, and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government.”

Some students said they understand the ban.

“It’s a safety issue,” said Niko Mangilat, another UH student. “I think there are some legitimate concerns.”

Houston universities are responding to the Governor’s directive by the February 15 deadline.

The University of Houston released the following statement regarding the ban:

“The University of Houston immediately ceased activity on all of its TikTok accounts operated by the university, in accordance with the Governor’s order last month. The UHS information security team scanned more than 20,000 university-owned devices on the UH system and the app was removed from six devices. The university has not made any changes to the university’s Wi-Fi or internet systems in connection with the order.”

Prairie View A&M, along with Texas Southern University, “will ban TikTok from university Wi-Fi, networks, and government devices, including mobile phones, laptops, and desktops.”

Another UH student, Arelie Martinez, said, “I don’t think this should be a priority at all, and I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.”

Some university students do not consider the ban necessary.

“If you’re going to ban TikTok, it’s the same as banning YouTube, it’s the same as banning Instagram,” said Jacob Bay, a student at Texas Southern University.

China has a law that requires businesses to help their government with intelligence work, including data sharing.

TikTok has 85 million users in the US.

The FBI also warned of security issues with the app.

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