The state of Montana will be the first state in the United States to ban its residents from using the social network. Experts are skeptical that the remedy is possible and a federal court obtained a class action lawsuit.
An outright ban on TikTok, unveiled Wednesday in the US state of Montana, is heading for a court battle that has some experts questioning whether one is technically feasible.
Next year, Montana will become the first state in the country to block the use of the popular digital platform owned by Chinese company ByteDance, after it is signed into law by Governor Greg Gianforte.
Should the “Great Wall of Montana” be built?
Tarah Wheeler, principal of cybersecurity firm Red Queen Dynamics and senior fellow for global cyber policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, doesn’t see the ban as doable: “You’d have to build the Great Wall of Montana,” she says of the historic Great Wall of China. Referring to said.
“It is not possible to maintain restrictions in the state and keep yourself free from the kind of surveillance you are trying to avoid,” he said.
Virtual private network access
Users of TikTok can take advantage of some free software to obtain a Virtual Private Network (VPN), through which people switch devices.
According to Wheeler, tech-savvy teens in Montana may use a VPN to log in from other states, which also presents a vulnerability to spyware or malware on some networks.
lack of evidence
Jason Kelly, acting director of the Internet rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, believes the ban was justified to protect Montana users from alleged Chinese interference, but has presented no clear evidence.
In his opinion, it is the lack of a national data privacy law that leaves users vulnerable, with free brokers collecting and selling information from web users: “If China wants data on users, it can buy them.” May go.”
A court battle
As debate rages over the app’s effectiveness and safety, five TikTok content creators in the state have already filed suit in federal court, arguing that the ban is illegal and violates free speech rights.
Lyrisa Lidsky, a professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, said the ban would easily be viewed as a violation of fundamental free speech laws in the United States, where companies have the same right to free speech as individuals.
Test Model for USA
The move would serve as a legal test for a nationwide ban on the platform, something lawmakers in Washington are increasingly seeking. A wide swath of politicians have accused the app of being a ward of the Chinese government and a spying tool for Beijing, which TikTok vehemently denies.
The law states that the ban will take effect in 2024, but will be lifted if TikTok is acquired by a company incorporated in a country that is not considered a foreign threat by the United States.
The law has been interpreted by Montana legislators as an invitation for TikTok and the White House to reach some kind of agreement that would either separate the app from ByteDance, or permanently cease operations in the North American country. .