Montana becomes first US state to pass legislation banning TikTok on personal devices

Montana becomes the first US state to pass legislation banning TikTok on personal devices. TikTok has been accused of posing a national security risk through data gathered from users. The bill, known as SB 419, passed by a vote of 54 to 43. It cites a number of concerns about TikTok, including alleged surveillance from the Chinese government and encouragement of dangerous activities among young users.

The legislation makes it illegal for app stores to offer TikTok. It however excludes the present users of the app. If signed into law by Governor Greg Gianforte, the ban could come into effect in January 2024. Mr Gianforte, a Republican who previously banned the app on the devices of government employees, is expected to sign it.

Bytedance, the company which owns Tiktok, said that it will fight against the bill. Violations of the bill could carry a penalty of up to 10,000 US Dpollars, which would be enforced by Montana’s Department of Justice. The penalties apply to companies, rather than individual users. Governments around the world – including in the US have moved to restrict government employees from using TikTok on official devices.

In March, US President Biden told ByteDance that the company faces a potential federal ban if it does not divest its ownership in the app.

However various industry groups have criticized Montana’s legislation and similar efforts to restrict access to the app saying that the bill sets a dangerous precedent that the government can try to ban any business it doesn’t like without clear evidence of wrongdoing.