June 7, 2023

Social media firm TikTok filed a lawsuit Monday searching for to overturn Montana’s first-in-the-nation ban on the video sharing app, arguing the legislation is an unconstitutional violation of free speech rights and relies on “unfounded hypothesis” that the Chinese language authorities might entry customers’ information.

The lawsuit by TikTok, owned by Chinese language tech firm ByteDance, follows one filed final week by 5 content material creators. They made related arguments together with that the state of Montana has no authority to take motion on issues of nationwide safety. Each lawsuits had been filed in federal court docket in Missoula.

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the invoice Wednesday and the content material creators’ lawsuit was filed hours later. The legislation is scheduled to take impact on Jan. 1, however cybersecurity specialists say it could possibly be troublesome to implement.

TikTok says it has not shared and wouldn’t share U.S. consumer information with the Chinese language authorities and has taken measures to guard the privateness and safety of its customers, together with storing all U.S. consumer information in the USA, based on the lawsuit.

Some lawmakers, the FBI and officers at different companies are involved that the video-sharing app could possibly be used to permit the Chinese language authorities to entry data on U.S. residents or push pro-Beijing misinformation that might affect the general public.

Chinese language legislation compels Chinese language corporations to share information with the federal government for no matter functions it deems to contain nationwide safety. TikTok says this has by no means occurred.

“The Chinese language Communist Social gathering is utilizing TikTok as a instrument to spy on Individuals by accumulating private data, keystrokes, and even the places of its customers — and by extension, individuals with out TikTok who affiliate with customers might have details about themselves shared with out even understanding it,” Emily Flower, a spokesperson for the Montana Division of Justice, mentioned in a press release.

“We anticipated authorized challenges and are totally ready to defend the legislation that helps defend Montanans’ privateness and safety,” she wrote

The federal authorities and about half the U.S. states, together with Montana, have banned TikTok from government-owned units.

Montana’s new legislation prohibits downloads of TikTok within the state. It might effective any “entity” — an app retailer or TikTok — $10,000 per day for every time somebody “is obtainable the power” to entry the social media platform or obtain the app. The penalties wouldn’t apply to customers.

Chatter a few TikTok ban has been round since 2020, when then-President Donald Trump tried to bar the corporate from working within the U.S. by way of an govt order that was halted in federal courts. Congress has additionally thought of banning the app over safety considerations.

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