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Legal Questions Surround Montana's TikTok Ban

  • Alexi Cohan
| May 18, 2023

Montana became the first state to ban TikTok, with Governor Greg Gianforte promising to defend his state against security threats from the China-based app.

The ban would start in January 2024, and according to the measure, platforms like the Apple Store or Google Play that offer the app will be subject to fines of $10,000 a day if they continue allowing downloads.

But, guests on Greater Boston said the ban faces significant legal challenges and enforcement challenges.

Bruce Schneier, Adjunct Lecturer at Harvard Kennedy School, an Affiliate of the Belfer Center's Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, and a Fellow at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, said, "enforcement is really where this fails." He said apps can be banned from the app store, but it doesn't address people who have it already.

"It's not going to automatically turn off when you cross the border. We can't do that, and even if we could, there are lots of ways around that kind of censorship," Schneier said.

A legal uphill battle likely awaits when it comes to this ban, according to Daniel Lyons, associate dean of academic affairs at Boston College School of Law.

"We're pretty quickly going to see a First Amendment challenge to the ban, and I think the big concern is how broad the ban operates," Lyons said.

In order to uphold the ban, Lyons said Montana will have to show that it's serving an important governmental interest and that it's not infringing free speech.

Watch: Montana plans to ban TikTok within its borders. Is it legal? Is it even possible?

  – Via WGBH News.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Legal Questions Surround Montana's TikTok Ban.” Broadcast Appearance, May 18, 2023, posted by “WGBH News”.

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