Hogan Issues Emergency Cybersecurity Directive Banning TikTok, Other Foreign-Based Platforms in State Government

Governor Larry Hogan today announced an emergency cybersecurity directive to prohibit certain Chinese and Russian-influenced products and platforms for the executive branch of state government, including TikTok. According to Governor Hogan, these entities present an unacceptable level of cybersecurity risk to the state and may be involved in cyber espionage, surveillance of government entities, and inappropriate collection of sensitive personal information.

“There may be no greater threat to our personal safety and national security than the cyber vulnerabilities that support our daily lives,” said Governor Hogan.

“As the cyber capital of America, Maryland has taken bold and decisive actions to prepare for and address cybersecurity threats. To further protect our systems, we are issuing this emergency directive against foreign actors and organizations that seek to weaken and divide us.”

The directive—issued by the state’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)—applies to TikTok; Huawei Technologies; ZTE Corp; Tencent Holdings, including but not limited to Tencent QQ, QQ Wallet, and WeChat; Alibaba products, including but not limited to AliPay; and Kaspersky.

Under this directive, agencies must remove any of these products from state networks, implement measures to prevent the installation of these products, and implement network-based restrictions to avoid the use of, or access to, prohibited services.

“This action represents a critical step in protecting Maryland State systems from the cybersecurity threats caused by foreign organizations,” said State CISO Chip Stewart.

At the 2023 MACo Winter Conference session, “Back to Basics: What You Need to Know About Cybersecurity,” an expert panel will highlight actionable policies, standards, best practices, and other resources for counties to prevent and mitigate network intrusions and maintain critical services.

MACo’s Winter Conference, “Hit the Ground Running,” is at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, MD, from January 4-6, 2023 (with a pre-conference orientation for new county officials on January 3).

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: