Montana became the first state to pass legislation to completely ban TikTok on personal devices last week, sending a bill to Gov. Greg Gianforte’s desk.
The legislation, introduced by Republican Montana State Sen. Shelley Vance, prohibits the China-based social media platform from operating within state lines and bars app stores from offering TikTok for downloads.
The bill, SB149, marks the furthest step yet by a state government to restrict TikTok over perceived security concerns, and comes as some Federal lawmakers have called for a national ban of the app.
On April 14, lawmakers in Montana’s House voted 54-43 to give final approval to the bill. Should Gianforte sign the bill, it would take effect on January 1.
“TikTok’s stealing of information and data from users and its ability to share that data with the Chinese Communist Party unacceptably infringes on Montana’s right to privacy,” the bill reads.
The legislation does not penalize individual users in Montana for accessing the social media app, but it does specifically call out TikTok, saying it will face potential fines of $10,000 per violation per day. The penalties would also apply to any app store – like Google and Apple – found to have violated the Montana law.
The legislation describes a discrete violation as “each time that a user accesses TikTok, is offered the ability to access TikTok, or is offered the ability to download TikTok.”
State governments across the United States have recently used their authority over official devices they control to restrict TikTok from smartphones, computers, and WiFi networks. But those restrictions do not extend to personal devices.
Government officials have argued that TikTok, which is owned by the China-based tech giant ByteDance, poses a large security risk to the United States.
U.S. officials have widely expressed fears the Chinese government could potentially gain access to TikTok user data through ByteDance, and that such information could be used to benefit Chinese intelligence or propaganda campaigns. The White House issued guidance in February requiring agencies to delete TikTok from all government-issued devices.