Montana has outlawed TikTok. Although it won’t go into force until 2024, the first state-level ban in the US on the increasingly controversial social video app has already generated controversy.
Why is TikTok Prohibited?
Greg Gianforte, the governor of Montana, stated that the action was taken “to prevent the Chinese Communist party from harvesting Montanans’ personal and private data.” A federal initiative to prevent government employees from using the app on their work phones led to the ban.
Governments all across the world followed suit, but Montana is one of the first in the most recent wave to extend a ban to consumer users as well.
How Will the Prohibition Become Operative?
The bill, which was filed in February, prohibits TikTok from being hosted by app shops like those controlled by Google and Apple.
Since the services currently gather enough data about individual users to be able to identify their place of residency, any significant obstacle is likely to be legal rather than technical, contrary to what lobbyists connected to the firms have said. If TikTok continues to operate in the state after the prohibition takes effect, it might potentially be fined.
A TikTok spokesperson said in a statement: “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 the news:
To protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party, I have banned TikTok in Montana.
— Governor Greg Gianforte (@GovGianforte) May 17, 2023
Will it Be Simple to Implement?
Users can circumvent regional restrictions on the open internet in a variety of ways, such as by utilizing a VPN service to reroute connections to alternative regions or by creating accounts with prepaid cards and rental mailboxes. It would be nearly impossible to completely block access to the app unless Montana opted to take the path of nations like Iran or, oddly, China itself, and severely restrict access to such services.
No TikTok users would face fines, according to Olexandr Kyrychenko, a partner at the IMD Corporate law firm, because the legislation targets businesses rather than people. He said that the “eyewatering” fine of $10,000 (£8,000) per day would induce businesses to comply.
App stores would be well advised to comply, he added, as maintaining download options after the measure takes effect would be a costly gamble.
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Has Anywhere Else Succeeded in Banning TiKtok?
The app was banned in India in 2020 due to a surge of risky “challenges” that had resulted in the deaths of several users, but detractors claimed that the underlying reason was the same geopolitical squabbling that led to Western countries beginning to crack down three years later.
The restriction significantly reduced competition in India and gave a sizable market to YouTube’s Shorts service, which is TikTok’s direct rival and was swiftly introduced in the nation after the ban.
Additionally, TikTok is prohibited in China. The parent company of TikTok, Bytedance, also owns a companion app called Douyin, which has many of the same features but considerably stricter censorship.
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