The United States Army has banned its soldiers from using TikTok on government-owned phones, arguing the Chinese-owned social media app is a cyber threat, according to Military.com. The report goes on to say it is unclear whether or not the Air Force or Marine Corps are taking similar action with TikTok.
The decision to ban the app comes after the Navy’s decision earlier this month, illustrating how seriously the military and the federal government are taking TikTok’s potential of becoming a national security threat.
The Department of Defense issued warnings telling their employees not to use the app, and lawmakers are currently calling for investigations into the security of the app. That said, military troops are still allowed to use the app on their personal devices. At the same time, officials have warned military personnel to be wary of sharing personal information on the app.
TikTok argues that its “user data is stored and processed in the U.S. and other markets where TikTok operates at industry-leading third-party data centers. It’s important to clarify that TikTok does not operate in China and that the government of the People’s Republic of China has no access to TikTok users’ data.”
In other related news, the Pentagon warns the Military from using at-home DNA tests.
According to the New York Times, the Pentagon warned military members from using at-home DNA tests in an internal memo. The memo writes mail-in consumer DNA kits such as 23andme or Ancestry could pose a potential security risk.
“Exposing sensitive genetic information to outside parties poses personal and operational risks to Services members,” the memo reads. “These [direct-to-consumer] genetic tests are largely unregulated and could expose personal and genetic information, and potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission.” The memo also claims that some consumer DNA kit businesses were targeting service members with discounts.