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Professors Sue the State of Texas for the Right to Use TikTok on University Devices

Professors Sue the State of Texas for the Right to Use TikTok on University Devices

“Texas is part of a group of over 20 states that have banned TikTok in some fashion on the basis that TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, poses a national security risk.”

TikTok is Chinese spyware. It’s being banned all over the place and for good reason.

Campus Reform reports:

Professors sue for right to use Tiktok on university devices, citing academic freedom concerns

A lawsuit has been filed against the State of Texas over its banning of TikTok on state-owned or issued devices for employees in state agencies, including public universities.

The group challenging Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order is the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, on behalf of The Coalition for Independent Technology Research, an organization that advocates on behalf of researchers who study “the impact of technology on society.”

The lawsuit alleges Texas’s ban “compromised” the ability for college professors to teach and conduct research since they can no longer access the social media platform and calls on the state to amend the executive order to grant an exception to university faculty.

Abbott seeks to protect “sensitive information and critical infrastructure” from falling into the hands of the Chinese government.

Texas is part of a group of over 20 states that have banned TikTok in some fashion on the basis that TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, poses a national security risk.

In a press release, adjunct professor Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, stated that it is not a “sensible or constitutional response” to concerns about the app’s extensive data collection and disinformation.

The Knight First Amendment Institute called the ban an “assault” on academic freedom. The complaint cites the case of University of North Texas Professor Jacqueline Vickery. Vickery was forced to “suspend research projects and change her research agenda, alter her teaching methods, and eliminate course materials.”

Dave Karpf, PhD, an Associate Professor at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs, told Campus Reform on behalf of the Coalition for Independent Technology Research, that Governor Abbott’s lawyers “will have the opportunity to explain what national security risks are being created by Professors accessing TikTok in the classroom” and while conducting “publicly-beneficial” research.


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This is ridiculous from the jump. These are university-owned (read: state-owned) devices. The state therefore has every right to determine what applications are permitted on the state-owned devices. The state could as easily justify the decision on grounds of protecting user privacy as over concerns about infrastructure security.

Or maybe they just don’t like the logo.

    “I have rights to whatever I want on my device provided by someone else for their specific purposes!”
    “Fine. Now I’ve taken away your provided device. Pay for your own internet.”
    “Waaaahhhh!!! You can’t take away that phone. It’s my right to have one!”

    And, of course, you can always watch TikTok videos on the internet. You don’t have to have the app unless you’re going to be commenting or making your own videos, which would be contrary to what these folks are claiming.

henrybowman | July 23, 2023 at 4:05 pm

“the Right to Use TikTok on University Devices”
Such a nonsensical claim from academics who have no idea what “rights” are.

It reminds me of a Monty Python skit (which I’ve never been able to find since) in which a medieval farmer is loudly complaining:

“Here! You can’t do that to me! I know my rights!”
“What rights are those, peasant?”
“Well… I have the right of drayage… um… across fordable streams between Michaelmas and St. Swithin’s day… and… and…”

WildernessLawyer | July 24, 2023 at 9:38 am

Nice of the professors to self-identify as people you should never hire.

Let ’em have it – right after they register as agents of a foreign power.

As Scott Adams has pointed out, the most serious problem with TikTok is not the ability of the Chinese government to capture data. It’s their ability to influence TikTok users’ thinking on a mass basis. It should be banned for the entire country. Be suspicious of any politician who thinks otherwise.

    “Be suspicious of any politician” full stop.

    henrybowman in reply to gibbie. | July 24, 2023 at 2:01 pm

    So, then, Tik Tok is dangerous for the same reason as the NY Times is.

      gibbie in reply to henrybowman. | July 24, 2023 at 5:22 pm

      Not quite. TikTok probably has about 1,000 times the reach of the NYT, and much greater reach in the impressionable, under 25 demographic.

      Also, the NYT is not wholly owned by an enemy government (unless you count the deep state).

BierceAmbrose | July 25, 2023 at 11:42 pm

“…on behalf of researchers who study “the impact of technology on society.””

Cool. Their lab gear can run TikTok. Write it into the grant.

These people must be idiots not to know that. Oh, wait “…impact … on society.” So Sociology. Or “studies” people. So, both idiots, and believe technology is magic.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to BierceAmbrose. | July 25, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    From: Ur Boss at University of Ur Boss
    To: Idiots Studying Impact of Stuff They Don’t Understand
    Re: Grants for Ogling TikToks

    No, you can’t put Spyware on Indeterminate Origin on U-provided devices. Nor can you plug that stuff into the network to turn the whole place into a bot farm or crypto mine.

    If you wanna play with dangerous stuff, put it somewhere safe. It’s called “a lab.” You can write building a lab into your grant proposals. Ask your hard science colleagues about this –they do it all the time. For information technology gizmos there are protocols and practices for keeping your lab shenanigans contained, so the rest of us don’t get hurt. Ask your hard science colleagues about this, too, BUT, not the ones from Wuhan. They don’t seem too clear on the concept.

    Not that you asked, but, you might also propose investigating how investigating the “impact” of technology might cause those intrepid investigators to get a clue about the technology they’re investigating, or technology in general. Or not.

    Or we might propose to make you the subjects of a study, ourselves. “Assessing, assessing the Impact of the Misunderstood” or some such. Or maybe “Conservation of Ignorance: Assessing Impact without a clue about the stuff it’s impact of.”

    Now you are *our* lab rats, and we already run the computers you use.


    Push the right lever and get a pellet.