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Montana Legislature Approves Outright Ban of TikTok

Montana Legislature Approves Outright Ban of TikTok

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Montana Legislature Approves Outright Ban of TikTok

Montana legislators on Thursday passed a bill banning TikTok, the popular Chinese-owned social media app, on government devices - joining over half of states and Congress that have banned this service from being accessible on state devices.

However, before reaching Governor Greg Gianforte for signature or veto action. Gianforte may opt to either sign it into law himself, veto it altogether, or let it become effective without his signature.

Legislators Approved a Bill to Ban TikTok

TikTok is a social media app that allows users to upload short videos ranging from 15-60 seconds in length. The service has become extremely popular among teens and millennials as well as celebrities and brands alike.

Over the past several years, this app's popularity has skyrocketed; global daily users surpassed 1 billion in early 2022. It has become an indispensable household brand that launches celebrities' careers while creating viral moments for brands.

TikTok's impressive growth is not without controversy, with reports that Chinese government agencies could use it to surveil American users. As a result, the FBI raised questions regarding national security implications of TikTok.

Under consideration is a federal bill that would enable the Commerce Department to monitor foreign threats on tech platforms like TikTok. This could impose fines against internet service providers, app stores and any entities which facilitate its download.

Montana lawmaker Jeff Kosch introduced legislation this week that would make it unlawful for internet providers or other companies to offer TikTok in his state, with penalties up to $10,000 per incident compounded daily until access is shut off completely by that provider.

At legislative hearings, TikTok users and businesses voiced strong objections to the bill, purchasing billboards or running full-page newspaper ads against it; some even expressed fear that its passage would harm their businesses.

Opponents of the bill charged that it was too broad and would likely be challenged in court, violating free speech rights as well.

Proponents of the bill asserted that it was necessary for Montanans to protect themselves against China and other nations, rather than attempt to implement blanket bans across all companies.

On Thursday, an amendment was submitted to expand the ban to cover other social media applications that collect user data and transfer it abroad, such as Russia, Iran, Cuba, North Korea or Venezuela. But this amendment was rejected by 48-51 votes.

If passed, Montana's bill would become the first statewide ban of its kind in the U.S. It will then go before Montana's Republican governor for his consideration and vote, serving as an indicator of whether people in other parts of the country would support curbing TikTok activities which are owned by Chinese firm ByteDance.

The Legislative Committee Approved a Bill to Ban TikTok

Montana Legislature Approves Outright Ban of TikTok After months of pressure from residents across Montana, lawmakers finally approved legislation that will ban TikTok from all personal devices across Montana if signed into law by Governor Greg Gianforte - this marks its first outright ban since 2001!

This comprehensive legislation, passed 54-43 in the state House and headed towards Senate review, goes far beyond prior actions taken by state officials to restrict Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok over perceived security concerns. Furthermore, it would prohibit app stores from offering it for download and require internet providers to block TikTok networks within their networks.

Advocates of this bill claim it is necessary to address privacy concerns raised by US authorities and members of Congress. Many believe ByteDance - TikTok's parent company - acts as China's surveillance arm by collecting user data on American users.

TikTok presents a threat to national security, privacy and public safety," stated Sen. Shelley Vance of Belgrade as she explained how SB 419 will serve to put all social media companies on notice that they must not harvest user data to sell overseas such as China.

But some civil liberties groups fear that this bill sets an unsafe precedent, leading other states to pursue similar steps and violate both Americans' First Amendment rights and privacy rights.

Keegan Medrano of the ACLU of Montana told reporters that this legislation will "cut Montana off from accessing an estimated 100 million strong TikTok community across America". Additionally, this would constitute an infringement on freedom of speech.

On Monday, Senator Shelley Vance introduced legislation in Montana's Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs Committee that would prohibit internet service providers and any other company from offering access to TikTok for anyone within Montana's borders; any violation could lead to a fine of $10,000 per incident that increases daily until all users of the app can no longer access it.

House lawmakers approved the bill on Thursday, narrowly rejecting an amendment from Rep. Katie Sullivan that would have broadened it further.

The House Approved a Bill to Ban TikTok

Montana lawmakers approved a bill on Friday that will prohibit TikTok, an app owned by Chinese video service Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, from operating within its borders. This law marks a first in the country as federal lawmakers call for its removal nationwide.

SB 419 seeks to address concerns raised by Montana lawmakers and intelligence agencies that TikTok may be used by China's government for surveillance against American citizens as well as to collect user data and promote pro-China propaganda through app stores and TikTok itself. Furthermore, penalties will be enforced for anyone found breaking this law; including app stores or TikTok itself.

TikTok's Chinese owner ByteDance has come under intense scrutiny due to security concerns, with several lawmakers calling for its nationwide ban. In response, ByteDance negotiated with US officials in order to safeguard user data.

ByteDance recently made headlines when reports surfaced of employees accessing IP addresses and data of US journalists as part of their efforts to track down a report about its activities. Such actions, coupled with ByteDance being located in China, have raised many concerns among lawmakers as to how ByteDance might be utilized by China to target Americans with propaganda and disinformation campaigns.

On Thursday, the House voted 60-39 in favour of passing this legislation, sending it onward to Governor Greg Gianforte who has banned TikTok apps on government-issued devices.

Under this bill, app stores or TikTok violating the law could face fines of up to $10,000 per day during any breach in their conduct - although any "entity" responsible for downloading TikTok would still be responsible; these penalties would not extend to users themselves.

Some opponents to the bill have claimed it will give too much power to the government. Their main argument? App stores would lack the capability of geofencing TikTok state by state, meaning users would easily bypass any restrictions. TechNet has however denied these claims.

The Senate Approved a Bill to Ban TikTok

Montana lawmakers are currently deliberating a bill to outlaw TikTok in Montana and set an important precedent. Over 20 states, federal governments, and college campuses nationwide have already banned this social media app due to growing government criticism; Montana may follow in this trend by banning TikTok on government devices as well.

On Thursday, the state Senate voted to advance SB 419, legislation that prohibits TikTok from operating within state borders and will impose fines against internet service providers and app stores that fail to block this popular Chinese-owned app. Furthermore, ByteDance must divest its interests from TikTok while ceasing collection of personal information from users of this application.

Proponents of the legislation contend that TikTok poses a grave threat to national security, privacy and online freedoms. They cite reports about American journalists being tracked via TikTok data usage while tracking sources - adding that TikTok could also be used to influence people on other social media platforms.

Critics contend the bill is overreaching and difficult to implement, with users potentially sidestepping its restrictions by using Virtual Private Networks - encrypted Internet traffic that prevents third parties from tracking online activity or stealing data - in order to bypass restrictions imposed by the bill.

Caroline Nelson of Little Creek Lamb and Beef Ranching Company in Townsend has expressed concern that HB 1924 might put their livelihood at risk. Caroline uses TikTok advertising as part of her first-generation ranching operation which advertises through this popular app.

At a March hearing, she testified that TikTok drives her sales and has helped the company expand. She told legislators the bill sends a bad signal about how Montana supports entrepreneurs; rather she would prefer they focus their support on her business instead.

Opponents of the bill asserted that its implementation is unconstitutional as it violates a constitutional right to free speech. Furthermore, they questioned why such legislation was even necessary and suggested it would be impossible for internet providers to block TikTok altogether.

As well, the bill could violate residents' freedom of speech by compelling them to download an illegal app in their state, and violate privacy by forcing app stores access to personal data that was once private. Tech industry representatives at the hearing echoed those concerns and pointed to similar laws regarding gambling apps in some states.

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