Montana Bans TikTok Over National Security Concerns

Montana Bans TikTok Over National Security Concerns

On Wednesday, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed a bill outlawing TikTok in the state.

Gianforte announced in a tweet that he has banned TikTok in Montana “to protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party,” making it the first state to do so.

The contentious rule is the state government’s most restrictive measure to date against TikTok due to alleged security concerns, and it comes as some federal MPs have advocated for a nationwide ban of the app. But a legal challenge is anticipated.

The law, which will go into force in January, expressly targets TikTok and forbids the app from being used within state borders. Additionally, the rule specifies that violators, such as app stores that are found to be hosting the social media program, may be subject to fines of $10,000 per day.

The bill, known as SB419, was approved by the Montana House of Representatives last month by a vote of 54 to 43, bringing it to Gianforte’s desk.

TikTok promised to fight for the protection of users’ rights in Montana.

“Governor Gianforte has signed a bill that infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok, a platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of people across the state. We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue using TikTok to express themselves, earn a living, and find community as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana.”

The tweet below confirms that TikTok is now banned in Montana:

Bans TikTok Over Security Concerns

The law is passed as criticism of TikTok’s ties to China grows. ByteDance, a company located in China, owns TikTok. Although there is currently no proof that the Chinese government has ever acquired the personal information of TikTok users residing in the US, many US officials have expressed concerns that the Chinese government may utilize TikTok to potentially access US data for spying.

The Montana law was deemed unlawful by NetChoice, a trade association for the technology industry that TikTok belongs to.

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“The government may not block our ability to access constitutionally protected speech – whether it is in a newspaper, on a website or via an app. In implementing this law, Montana ignores the U.S. Constitution, due process and free speech by denying access to a website and apps their citizens want to use,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice’s general counsel.

A statement from the ACLU opposing the bill claimed that “with this ban, Governor Gianforte and the Montana legislature have trampled on the free speech of hundreds of thousands of Montanans who use the app to express themselves, gather information, and run their small businesses in the name of anti-Chinese sentiment.”

On Wednesday, Gianforte signed a supplementary executive order that forbids the use of any social media platform “tied to foreign adversaries” on government-owned gadgets. This includes the Russian-founded Telegram Messenger and the ByteDance-owned CapCut and Lemon8.

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