By Jim Tortolano/Orange County Tribune
Take that, Xi Jinping.
On Wednesday night the Westminster City Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution banning city employees from the downloading or use of TikTok and other apps “viewed as a security risk to city networks.”
The staff report claims that Bytedance – which created Tik Tok – has a “known affiliation to the government of the People’s Republic of China” and that “China has a history of amassing large amounts of data on their own citizens and those around the world including individuals in the United States.”
The report cites comments from FBI Director Christopher Wray in December 2022 saying that not only could the app collect data on its users, but also steer to those users “biased videos that could be geopolitically more favorable to China.”
Federal employees are banned from using TikTok on government-owned devices.
Any city employee with a city-issued device such as a smart phone or tablet (iPad or similar device) will be prohibited from having or using such apps on those devices.
Community volunteers are not prohibited from having TikTok on their personal devices, but may not access city networks.
Also on the agenda was a request by Councilmembers Kimberly Ho and Carlos Manzo to rescind a certificate of recognition issued to the Vietnamese American Business Association by the council in February.
Ho said she objected to recognizing VABA because she felt it was not based in Westminster and accused the leadership of the organization of being a “Communist sympathizer” and being a labor law violator.
Mayor Chi Charlie Nguyen engaged in a heated exchange with Ho, saying “Shame on you!” for her criticism of VABA, which he credited with providing free masks during the coronavirus pandemic and for opposing hate crimes against Asian Americans.
Much of the meeting’s public comments were taken up by speakers commenting about the VABA recognition. The council eventually voted 3-2 in favor of a motion by the mayor to take no action on the item.
The next meeting of the city council will be on Wednesday, April 26 at 6 p.m