TikTok sues against ban in the US state of Montana
TikTok is taking action against the ban on the video platform in Montana. The company sees the law as a violation of freedom of speech and rejects “unfounded speculation” that the Chinese government could gain access to data from American users.
TikTok is suing after the announcement of the Banning the video app in Montana against the US state. “We are challenging Montana’s unconstitutional TikTok ban to protect our business and hundreds of thousands of Montana TikTok users,” the company said on Twitter Monday.
There are a number of precedents that TikTok believes put it in a strong legal position. Representatives of the platform also argued that a corresponding law in the US state of Montana violated the constitutional freedom of speech and was based on “unfounded speculation” that the Chinese government could gain access to American users’ data.
TikTok has not shared US data with the Chinese government and will not, the company said. There are measures to protect the privacy of TikTok users and ensure their security. All user data generated in the USA would also be stored there.
Last week, five Montana-based users of the app filed a lawsuit, citing identical arguments. Among other things, they also stated that Montana had no authority to decide national security matters. Both lawsuits were filed in federal court in Missoula.
Montana was the first US state to ban TikTok last week. The law, signed by Governor Greg Gianforte, will ban download platforms from offering the app from January 1, 2024. Users should not be penalized for keeping and using TikTok on their devices.
In the northwestern state, however, TikTok should no longer operate as a company. Gov. Greg Gianforte said he wanted to “protect the personal and private information of the people of Montana from the Chinese Communist Party.” Violation of the law carries a fine of $10,000 per day.
Lawsuits could delay the law’s entry into force
TikTok and especially its Chinese parent company Bytedance are suspected of being the Chinese Communist Party allow access to user data and exercise political influence over users. Several Western states, including the United States, have public sector workers using TikTok prohibited on service devices. In India, TikTok is down over privacy concerns even completely blocked. The Chinese government has denied urging Chinese companies to hand over personal user data collected abroad.
An investigation has been ongoing in the United States for months that could lead to a nationwide ban on TikTok if there is no change of ownership. The company’s legal objection and lawsuits from private individuals could delay or prevent the law from coming into force.
Critics of the state’s actions say it exceeds its authority to enact such a ban on national security or foreign policy grounds. Montana should also not ban an entire platform just because the state perceives some of the statements made there, which are protected by free speech, as dangerous.
With more than a billion users worldwide, TikTok is particularly popular with the younger generation. In terms of usage time, the video app has long outstripped other major networks such as YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook obsolete.
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