Montana TikTok ban brings questions about digital sovereignty

Now that the governor has signed a controversial bill essentially outlawing the TikTok social media app in Montana, Indigenous people in the state are wondering how such a law might affect sovereign tribal nations.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law on Wednesday a bill banning the Chinese-owned social media application. Specifically, Senate Bill 419 is designed to ban state residents from downloading the app within “territorial jurisdiction” of the state, which is expected to go into effect in 2024.

“The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented,” Gov. Gianforte stated in a press release on Wednesday. “Today, Montana takes the most decisive action of any state to protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party.”

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The TikTok ban is a controversial idea, with opponents calling it a violation of the First Amendment. In fact, a group of TikTok users filed a lawsuit against the governor just hours after he signed the bill, alleging the state lacks the authority to bar people from accessing information. But the

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