HB 2385 (Brewer), as originally drafted, would prohibit any employee or agent of any executive branch agency or person or entity contracting with any such agency from downloading or using any application, including TikTok or WeChat, or accessing any website developed by ByteDance Ltd. or Tencent Holdings Ltd. (i) on any state-issued device or state-owned or state-leased equipment, including mobile phones, desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, or other devices capable of connecting to the Internet, or (ii) while connected to any wired or wireless Internet network owned, operated, or maintained by the Commonwealth, among other provisions.
On February 1, the bill was amended on the floor of the House to expand to all public bodies, including local governments, and to any entities contracting with a public body. The legislation is meant to address cybersecurity concerns over the use of these applications and devices and how foreign adversaries of the United States may use them as data collection tools. As amended, the bill passed the House unanimously 99-0 and has been referred to the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee.
A similar bill, SB 1459, passed the Senate by a vote of 21-20 on February 7.
VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett