NATIONAL NEWS

Montana gov seeks to expand TikTok ban to other social apps

Apr 26, 2023, 10:59 AM

FILE - The icon for the video sharing TikTok app is seen on a smartphone, Feb. 28, 2023, in Marple ...

FILE - The icon for the video sharing TikTok app is seen on a smartphone, Feb. 28, 2023, in Marple Township, Pa. 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. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

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.

National News

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom in Yekaterinbur...

Associated Press

U.S. reporter Evan Gershkovich appear in court in Russia for hearing on espionage charges

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich appeared in court in Russia on Thursday for the second hearing in his trial on espionage charges, the court said. Gershkovich, his employer and the U.S. government vehemently deny the charges against him. Gershkovich was accused by the Russian Prosecutor General’s office of “gathering secret information” on orders from […]

4 hours ago

FILE - A pedestrian traverses the rotunda inside the New Mexico Capitol, March 16, 2023, in Santa F...

Associated Press

New Mexico governor cites ‘dangerous intersection’ of crime and homelessness, wants lawmakers to act

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Citing what she calls the “dangerous intersection” of crime and homelessness, New Mexico’s governor is calling on lawmakers to address stubbornly high crime rates as they convene Thursday for a special legislative session. In issuing her proclamation, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham talked about a vulnerable segment of society that falls […]

5 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives on third day of the Republi...

Associated Press

FACT FOCUS: Trump, in Republican convention video, alludes to false claim 2020 election was stolen

DONALD TRUMP, alluding that the 2020 vote was stolen: “Whether you vote early, absentee, by mail or in person, we are going to protect the vote. That’s the most important thing we have to do is protect the vote. Keep your eyes open because these people want to cheat and they do cheat. And frankly, […]

6 hours ago

Supporters cheer as Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives for a c...

Associated Press

‘One screen, two movies’: Conflicting conspiracy theories emerge from Trump shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former president is shot, the gunman quickly neutralized, and all of it is caught on camera. But for those who don’t believe their eyes, that’s just the start of the story. For some supporters of former President Donald Trump, the failure of the Secret Service to prevent the attempted assassination point […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Hundreds attend vigil for man killed at Trump rally in Pennsylvania before visitation Thursday

SARVER, Pa. (AP) — Hundreds of people who gathered to remember the former fire chief fatally shot at a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump were urged to find “unity” as the area in rural Pennsylvania sought to recover from the assassination attempt. Wednesday’s public event was the first of two organized to memorialize […]

6 hours ago

California delegate T. Tran holds his phone with an image of Republican presidential candidate form...

Associated Press

What to watch as the Republican National Convention enters its fourth day in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Republican National Convention culminates Thursday with former President Donald Trump expected to accept the party’s presidential nomination, achieving a comeback four years in the making and anticipated even more in the past week in light of Saturday’s assassination attempt. Trump is expected to accept his third consecutive party nod in prime […]

6 hours ago

Montana gov seeks to expand TikTok ban to other social apps