Montana has made history by becoming the first U.S. state to officially ban the popular Chinese-owned app, TikTok.

Governor Greg Gianforte, a Republican, announced the decision on Wednesday, citing concerns over the Chinese Communist Party’s potential threat to personal data.

In a tweet, Governor Gianforte stated, “To protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party, I have banned TikTok in Montana.”

This move follows the signing of Senate Bill 419 into law, effectively prohibiting TikTok from operating within the state’s borders. The ban is set to take effect on January 1, 2024.

Highlighting the well-documented concerns surrounding TikTok’s potential for privacy violations, Governor Gianforte emphasized, “The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented.”

By banning TikTok, Montana aims to take decisive action in safeguarding its residents’ private data from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party.

Under the new legislation, the Montana Department of Justice will have the authority to fine app stores or ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, $10,000 for each violation and an additional $10,000 for every day the violation persists.

Furthermore, the law prohibits companies such as Apple and Google from offering the Chinese app for download. It is important to note that the ban only affects the distribution of the app and does not impose penalties on TikTok users.

Prior to this state-level action, both federal and state agencies in Montana had already banned TikTok on government devices due to the app’s perceived national security risks. Concerns have been raised about the potential for TikTok to serve as a vehicle for the Chinese government to access sensitive information.

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The concerns surrounding TikTok’s data privacy practices are not unfounded. Previous reports have revealed instances where ByteDance employees accessed the private user data of U.S. journalists.

In another troubling incident, it was discovered that the company tracked a UK journalist through her cat’s TikTok account, despite the account not containing her real name.

A former executive at ByteDance has also shed light on the Chinese Communist Party’s influence within the company. He revealed that the CCP has “supreme access” to all the data held by ByteDance, including servers located in the United States.

Furthermore, there is an office dedicated to the CCP’s oversight within ByteDance, with the purpose of promoting “core Communist values” throughout the company and TikTok.

Montana’s ban on TikTok sets a significant precedent as the first state to take such decisive action against the app. By doing so, the state aims to protect its residents’ privacy and personal information from potential exploitation by the Chinese Communist Party.

As concerns continue to mount regarding data privacy and national security, the ban on TikTok serves as a proactive step towards ensuring the protection of sensitive information within Montana’s borders.