Montana vs. TikTok: The state’s $10.00-a-day fine remains in place as the attorney general speaks out

Credit: Solen Feyissa

Montana is the first US state to ban TikTok. The tech giants are being fined $10,000 a day for keeping the app available to the state’s population. Now the Attorney General is speaking out.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte enacted the first statewide ban on TikTok last week. The legislation faces legal challenges from TikTok creators and the platform itself, as the ban violates Montanan’s First Amendment rights. But the Montana government doesn’t see it that way. Montana AG’s Austin Knudsen explained why he thinks the ban sets an important precedent.

“A few months ago we had a spy balloon flight right over our state,” Knudsen told the National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat. “Montana was the state where we discovered this balloon and we were not made aware of it by either the federal government or the Air Force. We needed a civilian to spot the thing and figure out what it did; It flew over our sensitive nuclear missile sites here in Montana.”

“We looked at all the social media companies and found that TikTok is the most terrifying,” he continues. “You could say, ‘So do other social media companies.’ True, except for the other social media companies that allow you to opt-out of all data collection. Tiktok not.”

“TikTok collects your facial recognition, your biometrics, your fingerprint. It logs your keystrokes, your passwords, scans your images, your photos, your videos and sends all that data back to China, back to ByteDance under Chinese law,” he continues. “If the Chinese Communist Party wants access to this US data, ByteDance must grant it to them. That’s what this is about. This is about protecting privacy and that of Montanan.”

Digital Music News has documented several instances where TikTok has been caught spying on its users. After being caught accessing the clipboard through mobile users’ keyboards, the company vowed to stop doing so. But investigative reports revealed that ByteDance used TikTok data to track the activities of American journalists.