How Montana could enforce its TikTok app ban appeared first on MacDailyNews. How Montana could enforce its TikTok app ban appeared first on MacDailyNews. How Montana could enforce its TikTok app ban appeared first on MacDailyNews. How Montana could enforce its TikTok app ban appeared first on MacDailyNews.
U.S. state Montana on Wednesday banned the CCP-controlled TikTok app, with the state’s lawmakers saying they aimed to protect residents from alleged intelligence gathering by the Chinese Communist Party. TikTok

U.S. state Montana on Wednesday banned the CCP-controlled TikTok app, with the state’s lawmakers saying they aimed to protect residents from alleged intelligence gathering by the Chinese Communist Party.

TikTok

TikTok is already banned on government-issued devices in some 30 U.S. states and for employees of America’s federal agencies.

Reuters:

While blocking apps by geography is not unheard of, the Montana law is notable for doing so at the state level, upending a single-market approach Apple and Alphabet’s Google have long been able to use for their U.S. app stores.

Tech companies are now well-practiced in blocking apps at the country level, mostly to comply with U.S. sanctions or for business purposes, like Apple’s blocking of messaging and privacy apps in China upon government request.

While TikTok can theoretically block IP addresses registered in Montana, app stores will have a more difficult time.

Apple and Google declined comment on the technical aspects of implementing a ban, but TechNet, a trade group funded by both companies, told Montana lawmakers in March that app stores “do not have the ability to geofence on a state-by-state basis.”

“It would thus be impossible for our members to prevent the app from being downloaded specifically in the state of Montana,” the TechNet representative testified.

The companies do not appear to have built such controls at a more granular level, the researchers said.

“I think it’s possible but it’s not possible today. It would require a bunch of code to be written,” Alex Stamos, the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and former top security officer at Facebook, said in a recent podcast.

MacDailyNews Take: Both Apple and Google have extensive mapping data for Apple Maps and Google Maps, respectively. Each country, state, and city has a designated IP range.

The amount of coding required to geofence based on U.S. state lines and/or IP range would actually be trivial, if the code doesn’t already exist at both companies. (For example, via an inexpensive WordPress plugin, we’ve had the ability target ads at the country, state, or even city level for years. Google, with its extensive ad operation, certainly has such capability and well beyond.)

Of course, myriad VPN options are available in both the App Store and Google Play in the U.S.

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