Montana Bans TikTok From Operating Within its Borders

In a press release that was published by his office, Gianforte proclaimed that he signed the legislation to “protect Montanas’ person, private, and sensitive data” from being collected by the Chinese government.

“The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented,” Gianforte stated. “Today, Montana takes the most decisive action of any state to protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party.”

The federal government and state agencies in Montana already prohibited the use of TikTok on government devices. SB 419 takes it a step further and broadens the ban to cover personal devices. It specifically states that “Tiktok may not operate within the territorial jurisdiction of Montana.” The legislation also bars application companies such as Apple and Google from allowing TikTok to be downloaded from their platforms.

Once the law starts to go into effect, the Montana Department of Justice will have the power to fine app stores or ByteDance — TikTok’s parent company — $10,000 for each discrete violation and $10,000 daily for a violation that continues to go into effect.

The law only affects the app’s distribution, it does not subject users to penalties.

On April 14, SB 419 was passed in the Montana House by a vote of 54-43 on April 14. On March 2, the Montana Senate passed the bill by a vote of 30-20.

All told, banning TikTok is a more rational way of confronting China as opposed to using military action against it like the way neocons desire. Economic decoupling and restriction immigration from China are the America First alternatives that address the China question without having to go to war with it. Hopefully, policymakers steer more towards this path and pursue more realist policies towards China.

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