Information Technology Services

Network Access Changes

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed Senate Bill 834/House Bill 1445 into law last week. This new law “prohibits Tennessee public higher education institutions from allowing access to social media platforms operated or hosted by a company based in China on the institution’s network. The law applies to internet services provided by an institution through a hard-wired or wireless network connection and is effective immediately.” 
This new law means that starting today, April 17, the university will begin the process to block TikTok access on our campus networks. There is no action needed on the part of the app's users. Once the block is in effect, students, faculty, staff and members of the general public will no longer able to access TikTok or other Chinese-based social media platforms, which include WeChat, Sina Weibo, Tencent QQ, Tencent Video, Xiao HongShu, Douban, Zhihu, Meituan and Toutiao, on any device if you are connected to the university via its wired or Wi-Fi networks.   
However, the law does not prohibit students, faculty, staff or members of the general public from accessing TikTok or other such Chinese social media platforms through an individual user’s own personal network connection or a third-party network. 
This law does recognize several exceptions to this block. It “does not apply to institutions or employees of such institutions if downloading, accessing, or using such a social media platform is necessary to (1) perform law enforcement activities; (2) investigatory functions to carry out official duties for bona fide law enforcement, investigative, or public safety purposes; or (3) audit, compliance, or legal functions of the institution.”

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