TikTok sues Montana to reverse state’s ban of the app
TikTok filed a federal suit against Montana as a response to the recently passed state legislation that would have banned the popular video service from the state.
ByteDance, the parent company of the app, has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Montana to “prevent the State of Montana from illegally banning TikTok”, according to lawyers for the company.
The attorneys stated that Montana’s ban violates First Amendment freedom of speech, the U.S. Constitution and federal law in many other ways.
Last week, Montana became the first U.S. state to ban TikTok over allegations the Chinese government can use the app for intelligence-gathering operations. Apple’s and Google’s apps stores won’t be allowed to sell TikTok in Montana when the ban takes effect on Jan. 1, 2024. However, it is unclear how these companies will implement the ban.
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte called the ban an “important measure,” aimed at protecting Montanans “from Chinese Communist Party surveillance.”
The lawsuit states that TikTok denies Montana’s claims that the Chinese government could “access data about TikTok Users, and expose minors to harmful content on TikTok.”
The attorneys said that the State has provided no evidence to support its allegations. “Yet, the State has given no evidence to support their allegations. And the State’s bare speculative approach ignores the fact that Plaintiff has taken significant measures to protect privacy and security for TikTok Users, including storing U.S. User Data by default in the United States, as well as putting safeguards in place to protect U.S. User Data,” they added.
U.S. legislators have criticized TikTok for its alleged links to the Chinese government. Shou Zi Chew was TikTok CEO when he faced tough questions from lawmakers in March. He tried to calm their fears by highlighting TikTok’s collaboration with U.S. technology giant Oracle.
Develop infrastructure in Texas to store and process data of people in the country.
TikTok is hoping that the court will find Montana’s ban on the app “unconstitutional” and “preempted by Federal law.”