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Purdue’s ‘next step’: Block TikTok on its networks

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — Purdue University says it’s started blocking TikTok on its networks over concerns about online security.

The university specified concerns about data privacy, algorithmic censorship of free speech, and threats to national security, all which Purdue noted in a statement have been recognized by the U.S. government.

Purdue had announced Jan. 20 that all campuses and Purdue Global would no longer use TikTok on institutional accounts. The university on Feb. 13 announced a ban of TikTok use on university-issued or university-subsidized devices. Purdue has previously noted that “employees, staff and students are free to use on their own devices.”

The latest decision, to block TikTok in Purdue networks, was called “a next step.”

“This step is based on TikTok’s overly invasive privacy and use agreements that allow for significant access to phone data (such as keystrokes, geolocation and contacts) and the need, based on a Purdue IT security audit, to provide further protection for Purdue University systems,” the statement says.

Purdue joins dozens of universities across the country that have banned the video-sharing app in various ways.

IU expert: TikTok’s data policy is ‘concerning’

TikTok collects sensitive data from users’ video habits, location, and other data stored on their phones, such as credit card details, usernames and passwords, and internet browsing histories, says Sarah Bauerle-Danzman, an associate professor in international studies at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global Studies in Bloomington.

She says there is good reason to consider TikTok a national security threat. Congressional lawmakers are pushing to ban the app in the United States.

ByteDance, an internet technology company based in Beijing and developed TikTok, could be forced to hand this data over to leaders in Beijing, even if it doesn’t want to.

What a world without TikTok could look like

Wednesday marks one week since Shou Zi Chew, CEO of social media giant TikTok, testified before Congress about the company’s data practices.

Chew told lawmakers the company is “committed to user safety, data protection, and security, and keeping the platform free from Chinese government influence,” and urged officials not to pursue an all-out ban on TikTok or push for the company to be sold to new ownership.

Seven days later, the future of TikTok in the U.S. remains murky, leading many to ask, “What would a world without TikTok look like?”

Nelson Spade, the general manager of WISH-TV’s sister company, Circulus Digital Media, says the loss of TikTok would have a major impact on digital marketing. Spade appeared Wednesday on News 8’s “Daybreak” to talk about the trends.