PIERRE, SOUTH DAKOTA – The first responsibility of government is the security of its people. This is why I recently signed an executive order prohibiting the use of TikTok by South Dakota’s government agencies. As of last week, TikTok can no longer be accessed on state-owned or state-leased devices.
We know that TikTok makes available to the Chinese Communist Party the personal information of its users, which may include internet browsing data, keystrokes and location information. Given that government workers often access the personal information of South Dakotans on their work devices, this presents a serious vulnerability to a hostile foreign power.
The federal government exists in part to protect us from foreign adversaries. But the Biden administration has lost sight of this responsibility. Mr. Biden hasn’t demanded that Beijing or TikTok cease gathering the data of American citizens, and he hasn’t pushed Congress to ban the app nationally. By refusing to respond to this threat, the president is allowing China’s communist leaders to continue their attack on American security.
Similarly Mr. Biden hasn’t tackled the threat posed by China’s purchase of American farmland. I will soon be announcing plans to work with our legislature to address this threat in South Dakota, as well.
Many American intelligence officials believe that the Chinese Communist Party poses the greatest threat to the U.S., and most American people agree. If Mr. Biden won’t take this threat seriously, then Congress and state governments must fill the gap.
South Dakota is showing the nation how to create a state-led response to threats from communist China. We are taking the lead on preventing Beijing from accessing the private data of our citizens and throttling our food supply. South Dakota will continue to defend its citizens. I encourage other states to follow our lead. America’s security depends on it.