The governor of Montana has banned TikTok in the state

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte on Wednesday signed a bill banning TikTok from operating within the state, making it the most radical app ban in the country and likely to be challenged in court. The ban will come into effect from January 1.

“Today, Montana is taking the most decisive action of any state to protect Montana’s private data and sensitive personal information from the CCP,” said Republican Mr. Gianforte said in a news release.

The Montana Legislature introduced the bill in February, leading to months of debate. The plan, which affects everyday users of the popular short-form video app, significantly increased the national rush to ban TikTok on government devices based on concerns about the company’s ownership of Chinese company ByteDance. The battle over the bill, which unfolded in recent months, offered a glimpse of what the U.S. could face nationally if lawmakers or the White House tried to ban TikTok nationwide.

TikTok, which says it has 7,000 employees in the U.S., has been struggling in the state for months. It ran ads featuring Montana small businesses that use TikTok and sent users pre-written emails asking Mr. Trump about their opposition to the bill. Gianforte can be contacted.

The law prohibits mobile app stores run by Apple and Google from offering TikTok within the state. A trade group funded by Apple and Google has said in recent months that access to TikTok cannot be blocked in a single state.

“Governor Gianforte has signed a bill that violates 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,” TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter said in a statement. On Wednesday. Montanans “can continue to use the app as we continue to work to protect the rights of our users both inside and outside of Montana,” he added.

See also  US job growth slows but remains strong

Under the law, TikTok could be fined if it continues to operate in the state, if Apple and Google allow people to download the app.

Apple and Google did not immediately return requests for comment.

The battle erupted in Montana amid intense nationwide scrutiny of TikTok, which has more than 150 million US users. Lawmakers and intelligence officials have said TikTok, because of its ownership, could put sensitive user data in the hands of the Chinese government, pointing to laws that allow Beijing to secretly request data from Chinese companies and citizens for intelligence gathering.

They are also concerned that the app, which is particularly popular among teenagers and under-20s, could be used for propaganda. TikTok’s chief executive, Show Xiu, was grilled by Congress for nearly five hours in a March hearing that focused largely on the app’s Chinese ownership.

TikTok says it has not been asked or provided any US user data to the Chinese government. The company has proposed a detailed plan to operate in the United States, which it says should address national security concerns and fears of misinformation, but the plan has yet to be approved by the Biden administration, leaving TikTok and its future in limbo.

Free speech groups quickly responded to the Montana ban. The American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday that the law “violates the First Amendment.”

“The government cannot impose a blanket ban on a communications platform like TikTok unless it is necessary to prevent grave, immediate harm to national security,” the group said in a statement. “But there is no public evidence of harm that meets the high bar set by the United States and Montana Constitutions, and if there were, a total ban would not be the only way to address such harm.”

See also  Xiaomi 13 Pro Launch: Specifications, Price, Availability

The Montana bill says the ban would not apply if TikTok was acquired or sold by an unincorporated company in a country “designated as a foreign enemy.”

David McCabe Contributed report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *