The University of Texas at Austin is taking steps to comply with Governor Greg Abbott’s Dec. 7 directive to all state agencies to eliminate the cybersecurity risks posed by TikTok. The federal government recognizes the video-sharing mobile application as a national security threat. Several federal agencies and states have already prohibited its use on their government networks and government-issued devices.
Recently, UT Austin began the process of removing TikTok from all government-issued devices, including university-issued cell phones, laptops, tablets and desktop computers. Today, the university blocked TikTok access on our networks. You are no longer able to access TikTok on any device if you are connected to the university via its wired or WIFI networks. For common technical questions, contact IT@UT.
The university is taking these important steps to eliminate risks to information contained in the university’s network and to our critical infrastructure. As outlined in the governor’s directive, TikTok harvests vast amounts of data from its users’ devices — including when, where and how they conduct internet activity — and offers this trove of potentially sensitive information to the Chinese government.
Legitimate uses of TikTok to support university functions (e.g., law enforcement, any investigatory matters, academic research, etc.) will be considered, but you must request an exception through the UT Information Security Office. Any exceptions granted will require TikTok to operate on an isolated, single-purpose university-issued device not connected to the university’s WIFI or wired network (cellular only). All exceptions must ultimately be reviewed and approved by the president, UT System chancellor, and governor’s office.
Advisor to the President for Technology Strategy