A Data breach is a new-age digital nuclear war for countries. International trade, immigration policies, climate change agreements, presidential elections, and many more factors can be manipulated with privacy infringement. Lawmakers are also worried about government secrets being revealed to other countries.
But why is this point brought up in a discussion about a ‘TikTok ban?’ Well! The underlying threat between countless dance and lip syncs videos is that the private data of these users are secretly tunneled through the app. And by whom, one would ask. The USA believes that China is using cyber tactics to interfere in the nation’s affairs.
So why is TikTok the main point of contention?
Its bite-sized content consumption is ideal for this generation, whose average attention span is barely six seconds. As a result, millions tune in to the app, with hours worth of scrolling per day. Now the app hosts not only lip-syncing videos but also tonnes of information compacted in a few seconds. TikTok has become so influential that it is reviving indie movies, music careers, political leanings, and influencer phenomena; it also gives a solid platform for global voices.
This has opened two opposite gateways–
- Positively, free speech has become more accessible for the independent voices that usually succumb to mainstream media controlling the narrative. People can now tell their own stories without interception from screaming anchors.
- Negatively, TikTok is now the primary hub for sharing misinformation and fake news. Propaganda and youth radicalization are the two major threats.
Regardless, people subscribed to TikTok since there was no government interference. But recently, the USA is claiming a TikTok is a medium for specific intrusion from the Chinese government.
Did Montana Ban Tiktok?
Montana is now officially the first state to ban TikTok. Montana’s House of Representatives voted 54-43, affirming the bill– SB419.
The complete statement of the bill suggests–
AN ACT BANNING TIKTOK IN MONTANA; PROHIBITING A MOBILE APPLICATION STORE FROM OFFERING THE TIKTOK APPLICATION TO MONTANA USERS; PROVIDING FOR PENALTIES; PROVIDING FOR ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY; PROVIDING DEFINITIONS; PROVIDING FOR CONTINGENT VOIDNESS; AND PROVIDING A DELAYED EFFECTIVE DATE.
Governor of Montana, Greg Ginaforte, officially signed the bill on Wednesday, 17 May 2023, thus banning TikTok in the state, citing, “protect Montana’s personal adnd private data from Chinese Communist Party.” The bill will go into effect in January 2024. Of course, the law will face legal challenges.
This news received mixed responses from the netizens–
Why Did Montana Ban Tiktok?
Gov. Greg Gianforte firmly believes Tikok has done more harm than good for citizens.
The representatives are of the opinion that the Chinese Communist Party is stealing personal data through the app and infringing on Montana’s right to privacy. According to their analysis, the Republic Of China will conduct corporate and international espionage in Montana and track real-time locations of public officials, journalists, and other individuals adverse to the Chinese Communist Party’s interests.
The ordinance also mentions a few concerns over minor’s behaviors, influenced by TikTok–
“TikTok fails to remove, and may even promote, dangerous content that directs minors to engage in dangerous activities, including but not limited to throwing objects at moving automobiles, taking excessive amounts of medication, lighting a mirror on fire, and then attempting to extinguish it using only one’s body parts, inducing unconsciousness through oxygen deprivation, cooking chicken in NyQuil, pouring hot wax on a user’s face, attempting to break an unsuspecting passerby’s skull by tripping him or her into landing face first into a hard surface, placing metal objects in electrical outlets, swerving cars at high rates of speed, smearing human feces on toddlers, licking doorknobs and toilet seats to place oneself at risk of contracting coronavirus, attempting to climb stacks of milkcrates, shooting passersby with air rifles, loosening lug nuts on vehicles, and stealing utilities from public places.”
How Can a State Ban Tiktok?
Montana imposed a new law that will prohibit the app downloads altogether. The state would fine the app/play store (Google or Apple) $10000 per day if someone accesses TikTok or downloads it. Mind you, the users will not be fined.
What Are The Implications Of The TikTok Ban?
This ban actually stems from the growing tension in American-China relations. According to the Biden administration in 2022, China poses grave competition due to its aggressiveness in international trade. The current government is working on improving domestic industry, technology, and infrastructure. However, they believe China is a formidable competition that would affect America’s progress.
The other conflict with China arises from the vague support shown by America towards Taiwan. There is a lingering rift from China’s aggression with nuclear weapons. Overall, the relations are under heavy waters.
Amidst this, the TikTok ban in America can be a passive-aggressive retaliation. Although TikTok is owned by a privately-owned Chinese internet technology company, ByteDance. But since China follows communist laws, the USA has a reason to believe their government might directly access Tiktok content.
The TikTok team released a statement–
“The Montana bill infringes on the first amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok and that the company intends to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana.”
American Civil Rights Liberties Union, ACLU also expressed their concerns over the basic human rights of the citizens–
What do you think about the TikTok ban? Do you think the rest of the USA will follow suit?
Do you think people will still access TikTok through Virtual Private Network? How often do you use TikTok?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.