UNITED STATES NEWS

Montana gov seeks to expand TikTok ban to other social apps

Apr 26, 2023, 10:59 AM

Montana’s governor is asking lawmakers to expand the state’s proposed TikTok ban to more social media companies that provide certain data to foreign adversaries.

Earlier this month, state lawmakers passed a bill that would make Montana the first state in the U.S. with a total ban on the popular social media platform. That would go much further than similar bans already in place in many other states and the federal government that bar the use of TikTok on government-issued devices.

Similar to many national lawmakers and government officials, proponents of the law in Montana have claimed the Chinese government could harvest U.S. user data from TikTok and use the platform to push pro-Beijing misinformation or messages to the public. TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese tech giant ByteDance, has said it has never been asked to hand over its data, and has been vigorously opposing the legislation.

Under the recently-passed bill, downloading TikTok would be illegal in Montana. And any “entity” — an app store or TikTok — would be fined $10,000 a day for each time someone accesses TikTok, “is offered the ability” to access the platform or downloads the app.

But enforcing the ban is expected to be challenging. Tech experts say there’s nothing incentivizing the companies that would be liable for violation, such as app store leaders Apple and Google, as well as TikTok, to comply. And any enforcement measures could also be bypassed using a VPN, which can alter IP addresses and allows users to evade content restrictions.

The legislation was also expected to face legal hurdles on First Amendment grounds as well as “bills of attainder” laws prohibiting the government from imposing a punishment on a specific entity without a formal trial. A spokesperson for Republican Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte said the amendment offered by the governor’s office sought to deal with some of the concerns raised with the original bill.

“The amendment for consideration seeks to improve the bill by broadening Montanans’ privacy protections beyond just TikTok and against all foreign adversaries, while also addressing the bill’s technical and legal concerns,” Kaitlin Price, the governor’s press secretary, said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the amendment.

TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But a representative for NetChoice, a trade group that counts Google and TikTok as its members, said in a statement that the bill is still misguided.

“Once again, focusing on the country of origin is still the wrong approach. This whole issue distracts us from the real threats happening around us all the time,” said Carl Szabo, the vice president and general counsel for the group.

“If we truly care about protecting all Americans online, Congress needs to work on a federal data privacy law that preempts state law, among other components,” Szabo said. “That’s hard work, but that is what needs to be done.”

Lawmakers would have to approve the governor’s amendment before the legislative session ends in early May.

United States News

FILE - An orca swims past a recreational boat sailing just offshore in the Salish Sea in the San Ju...

Associated Press

To keep whales safe, Coast Guard launches boat alert system in Seattle

SEATTLE (AP) — Photographer Matt McDonald had lived on Puget Sound for years, but had never seen a whale, so he was elated when he spotted a giant marine mammal just off Seattle’s waterfront one evening. The excitement was short-lived. As McDonald tracked the whale in his camera’s viewfinder, a state ferry that dwarfed the […]

4 hours ago

FILE - From left, Glenn Horowitz, Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski appear in criminal court after...

Associated Press

An unusual criminal case over handwritten lyrics to ‘Hotel California’ goes to trial Wednesday

NEW YORK (AP) — A curious criminal case involving handwritten lyrics to the classic rock megahit “Hotel California” and other Eagles favorites is going to trial in a New York courtroom, with opening statements set for Wednesday. The three defendants, all well-established in the collectibles world, are accused of scheming to thwart Eagles co-founder Don […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Family friend of Texas girl Audrii Cunningham facing charges in 11-year-old’s death, prosecutor says

A family friend of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham was in jail Wednesday as prosecutors say they plan to charge him in the girl’s death after her body was found in a river near her rural Texas home. Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons said the body of the young girl — who went missing last week — […]

4 hours ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media before boarding Marine One on the South L...

Associated Press

It’s an election year, and Biden’s team is signaling a more aggressive posture toward the press

NEW YORK (AP) — Occupants of the White House have grumbled over news coverage practically since the place was built. Now it’s Joe Biden’s turn: With a reelection campaign underway, there are signs that those behind the president are starting to more aggressively and publicly challenge how he is portrayed. Within the past two weeks, […]

5 hours ago

Emily Hollenbeck, a deep brain stimulation therapy patient, demonstrates an EEG device that records...

Associated Press

A pacemaker for the brain helped a woman with crippling depression. It may soon offer hope to others

NEW YORK (AP) — Emily Hollenbeck lived with a recurring depression she likened to a black hole, where gravity felt so strong and her limbs so heavy she could barely move. She knew the illness could kill her. Both her parents had taken their lives. She was willing to try something extreme: Having electrodes implanted […]

5 hours ago

FILE - Election judges demonstrate the accuracy of the city's voting equipment on Oct. 28, 2022, in...

Associated Press

Election officials in the US face daunting challenges in 2024. And Congress isn’t coming to help

WASHINGTON (AP) — With election season already underway, some state election officials are expressing frustration that Congress has yet to allocate federal money they have come to rely on to help cover the costs of securing their systems from attacks, updating equipment and training staff. Election officials face a long list of challenges this year, […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

FanDuel

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]

Montana gov seeks to expand TikTok ban to other social apps