The Montana House of Representatives finally passed a bill Friday to ban social media app TikTok from operating in the state, a move that is set to face legal challenges but could also serve as a testing ground Lawmakers in many countries envision America without TikTok Because of concerns about potential Chinese espionage.
The measure passed the House in a 54-43 vote, which would make Montana the first state to ban the app across the board.It goes further than the bans already in place in nearly half of the states, including Montana, and the U.S. federal government TikTok banned on government-owned devices.
The measure now goes to Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte, who declined to say Friday whether he plans to sign it into law. A statement provided by spokesman Brooke Metrione said the governor “will carefully consider” all bills sent to his desk by the Legislature.
Gianforte banned TikTok from state government devices last year, saying at the time the app posed a “significant risk” to sensitive state data.
TikTok spokesman Brooke Oberwetter pledged to raise a legal challenge to the measure’s constitutionality, saying the bill’s backers “have acknowledged that they have no viable plan” to carry out “this attempt to censor American voices.”
Oberwetter said the company “will continue to fight for TikTok users and creators in Montana whose livelihoods and First Amendment rights are threatened by this egregious act of government overreach.”
TikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has been under intense scrutiny Worried it will hand over user data Push pro-Beijing propaganda and misinformation to the Chinese government or on the platform. The leaders of the FBI and CIA, as well as numerous lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, have raised the concern without offering any evidence that it happened.
Supporters of the ban point to two Chinese laws that compel the country’s companies to cooperate with the government in national intelligence work. They also cited disturbing incidents, such as ByteDance’s disclosure in December that it fired four employees who accessed the IP of two journalists while trying to pinpoint the source of leaked reports about the company. address and other data.
Congress is considering legislation that would not target TikTok specifically but give the Commerce Department broader capabilities to limit foreign threats on technology platforms. The bill has backing from the White House but has been opposed by privacy advocates, right-wing commentators and others who say the wording is too broad.
TikTok says it has a Plan to protect US user data.
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, whose office drafted the state’s legislation, said in a social media post Friday that the bill “is key to ensuring we protect the privacy of Montanas.” step,” though he acknowledged that a court battle was looming.
The measure would ban TikTok downloads in the state and impose a fine of $10,000 per day on any “entity” (app store or TikTok) every time someone “is provided with the ability to access or download the app.” Users will not be penalized.
The ban won’t take effect until January 2024, and will expire if Congress passes a national measure or if TikTok cuts ties with China.
The bill was introduced in February, just before the Chinese spy balloon Drifted across Montana, but had been drafted before that.
A representative of tech trade group TechNet told state lawmakers that app stores don’t have the ability to geofence apps on a state-by-state basis, so the Apple App Store and Google Play Store can’t enforce the law.
Ashley Sutton, executive director of TechNet Washington State and the Northwest, said Thursday that “the app, not the app store, should be responsible for determining where it can run.”
Attorney General Knudsen said online gambling apps can be disabled in states where they don’t, so TikTok should be able to do the same.
Amy Beth Hanson and Haleluya Hadero, Associated Press
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