Montana reportedly bans Telegram and other social media apps such as WeChat and Temu from government devices. This is however in addition to the banning of TikTok in the state.
Montana Bans Telegram
The state of Montana governor Greg Gianforte On Wednesday did not only ban TikTok state-wide. The governor also accused Telegram, WeChat, and the shopping app Temu of being “tied to foreign adversaries” and thus directed that they and other similar apps be banned from government devices and all state business. Gianforte also cited that CapCut video editor which is owned by TikTok’s owner, ByteDance as well as Lemon8 as examples of offending apps.
With this very ban, Gianforte on a large scale seems to be targeting apps with known ties to China, given that ByteDance, Temu owner Pinduoduo, as well as WeChat owner Tencent, are all based in the country/region. Telegram is however the exception here as it was founded in Russia but currently is headquartered in Dubai. The letter of Gianforte claims that the Russian government uses the app to “monitor users and obtain personal, sensitive, confidential information,” perhaps thus referencing Wired’s February report.
The New Policy of Montana Will Be In Effect on June 1st
The new policy of Montana will be in effect on June 1st. The list of devices that cannot have the apps installed includes “all state-issued cell phones, laptops, tablets, desktop computers, and other devices which connect to the internet.” And the ban will not just apply to government employees only as Gianforte states that “any third-party firms conducting business for or on behalf of the State of Montana shall not use these applications.”
Gianforte already had blocked TikTok on government devices or devices that are connected to the state network as of December, so this new development expands that very policy to a suite of other major apps. WeChat and Telegram Messenger as you already should know are widely used for chats, for instance, and the shopping app Temu is the most popular free app in the US in the App Store and Google Play at the moment. If the offending apps in question are currently downloaded on any devices, Gianforte has now instructed them to be “immediately removed.”
The Governor’s Claim in Regard to the App
And despite the claims of Gianforte that it is well documented that TikTok provides personal information and data to the communist party of China, it is still very much unclear if the parent company of TikTok ByteDance actually relays all of that data back to the government, but as reported back in march, congress seemingly does not take an interest, particularly in the answers as many of them already has had their minds made up.
TikTok Banned in Montana
The state of Montana will make it illegal for both Google’s play store and apple app store to offer TikTok and many other social media apps with ties to China and Russia within the state. Even at that, the state will not impose any form of penalties on individuals that chose to use the app. The very ban in question is set to take effect starting from January 1, 2024, and it is almost very certain to face legal challenges.
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