SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California state employees can keep using TikTok on their state-owned phones for at least one more year.
A bipartisan bill to ban the social media app will stay on the shelf until 2024. After sailing through the Senate on a 40-0 vote in May, SB-74 was moved to a two-year bill on Wednesday night. It will not be considered again until 2024. This impacts at least 230,000 state employees, who can now keep the app on their state-owned devices.
San Diego Republican Senator Brian Jones introduced the bill alongside Democratic State Senator Bill Dodd. Several lawmakers from across the aisle threw their support behind Sb-74. Legislators even added an urgency clause, which would have made the bill take effect the moment Governor Gavin Newsom signed his name on it.
Ultimately, Senators Dodd and Jones decided to delay the bill to allow more time to consider any proposed amendments, according to a spokesperson from Senator Dodd's office.
Dodd's spokesperson said Newsom's office also reached out about SB 74.
CBS 8 reached out to Senator Jones' office for a statement on the delay.
“Senator Dodd and I voluntarily moved SB 74 to the Inactive File and made it a two-year bill. This action gives us additional time to work out amendments. Specifically, we will be working with the Governor’s Office to ensure that the bill’s language doesn’t impede any law enforcement investigations. Once we work through this issue, we are confident it will pass and be signed into law.”
Chinese company Bytedance owns TikTok, a popular social media app where billions of users watch and create thousands of short videos every day.
Jones deactivated his own TikTok in January.
"Because it's a Chinese based company, they have to turn over whatever data they have to the Chinese government whenever the government asks for it," said Jones. "And so I don't think as citizens of California, we want our personal data being turned over to the Chinese government."
CBS 8 has spoken with several cybersecurity experts about TikTok's data safety concerns.
"The application, the way it's designed, will gather pretty much everything and anything that you have on your mobile device," said Matt Stamper, a cybersecurity expert.
Stamper agreed with Jones' concerns over the privacy of data on TikTok.
“It is, from my perspective, a clear and present danger in terms of the amount of data that is collected. It has elements within its terms of service that allow TikTok to share the information collected with anybody and everybody that they choose to up to and including potentially agencies within the Chinese government,” Stamper said.
In a January statement from TikTok, the company pushed back against Jones' claims.
"There is no truth to Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones' claim. The Chinese Communist Party has neither direct nor indirect control of ByteDance or TikTok.... Politicians with national security concerns should encourage the Administration to conclude its national security review of TikTok. The agreement under review will meaningfully address any security concerns that have been raised at both the federal and state level."
So for now, California will not join the 30 states and the federal government in banning TikTok from state-owned devices.
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