OLATHE, Kan. — Johnson County will begin restricting employee access to a popular app Friday.
TikTok will be restricted on most computers used to access county-owned networks. The change will take place at 5 p.m., according to Bill Nixon, Chief Information Officer for the County’s Department of Technology and Innovation.
“So employees that have access today will no longer be able to access TikTok on the Johnson County Network, unless they have a business need. There are some departments that use TikTok to get messages out,” Nixon said during Thursday’s Johnson County Commission meeting.
One of those departments is the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office which will continue to have access to the platform.
“The Sheriff’s Office is still using TikTok and has no plans to stop using it at this time,” a spokesperson for the office said.
Nixon told commissioners his department began looking at the potential cybersecurity issues TikTok may pose last year. The issue surfaced when federal and state bans on the platform were enacted.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced a TikTok ban on state-owned devices with access to state networks in December.
Earlier this week, the federal government told employees to delete the TikTok app from all work devices by the end of March.
Also, this week in Washington, D.C., Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted unanimously to advance a national ban on TikTok.
While TikTok is the focus right now, Nixon told Johnson County leaders that other apps and platforms could face the same fate in the future if it is determined they pose safety risks.
“We continue to evaluate the situation and there’s a number of sites that we block on a daily basis, given cyber security concerns,” Nixon said.
One thing that will not change for Johnson County is access to TikTok at library branches. Visitors will still be able to access TikTok as they always have.
“Library patrons may continue to access the site unrestricted while at any of our Library locations,” a spokesperson for the Johnson County Library said.