US: Montana one step closer to ban 'TikTok'
The United State's Montana is one step closer to imposing a complete ban on the use of the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform 'TikTok' with the lower chamber passing the proposed restriction on the mobile application on Thursday (Local Time). Read further on Dynamite News:
Helena (Montana) [US]: The United State's Montana is one step closer to imposing a complete ban on the use of the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform 'TikTok' with the lower chamber passing the proposed restriction on the mobile application on Thursday (Local Time), The Montana Standard reported.
On Thursday, 69 people voted in the favour of the ban on TikTok while 39 are against it in the Republican-led Legislature in Montana's parliament.
Senate Bill 419 would ban application stores from Apple and Google from offering TikTok within the state and envisions tens of thousands of dollars in fines for companies found violating its terms.
The Republican-led Legislature's focus on the social media company appears to be as much about shadowboxing with China as it is about privacy concerns. In the lower chamber, Representative Brandon Ler has stated that they are facing the threat from the Chinese Communist Party, who are hiding behind TikTok.
"We know the Peoples' Republic of China is one of our top adversaries, yet we allow them to freely gather information about Montanans, Montana's companies and the intellectual property of its users," he added.
Democrats argued the bill was too narrow, and if the actual concern is companies' extraction of user data, it ought to ban any social media company that does so. Rep. Katie Sullivan, D-Missoula, also pointed to the state Constitution's provision about local and special legislation, which states the Legislature shall not pass a special or local act when a general act can be made, according to The Montana Standard.
"I don't believe that this bill as written is taking privacy seriously," Sullivan said. "We know very well that social media companies are doing the same thing, other ones, they are selling and trading and using Montanans' data, and they are sending it to servers located all over the world."
During the floor debate Thursday, Sullivan proposed an amendment that would have broadened the bill's prohibition to any social media company that shares user data with foreign adversaries. That amendment failed to pass on a 48-51 vote, The Montana Standard reported.
Earlier, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before US Congress amid growing security concerns and potential Chinese government influence over the company. He faced hostile questioning from the US House Energy and Commerce Committee.
US Lawmaker Debbie Lesko during her line of questioning quoted India and other countries that have recently banned TikTok in some form.
"This (TikTok) is a tool which is ultimately under the control of the Chinese government and screams out with national security concerns Mr Chew, how can all of these countries and our FBI director be wrong? asked Lesko.
In response, Shou Zi Chew said, "I think a lot of risks pointed out are hypothetical and theoretical risks. I have not seen any evidence."
The Congresswoman once again reiterated and stressed India's decision on banning TikTok.
"India banned TikTok in 2020. On March 21, a Forbes article revealed how data of Indian citizens who used TikTok remained accessible to employees at the company and its Beijing-based parent. A current TikTok employee told Forbes that nearly anyone with basic access to company tools can easily look up the closest contact and other sensitive information about any user," Lesko informed her colleagues. (ANI)