Social media firm TikTok filed a lawsuit Monday looking 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’ knowledge.
The lawsuit by TikTok, owned by Chinese language tech firm ByteDance, follows one filed final week by 5 content material creators. They made comparable arguments together with that the state of Montana has no authority to take motion on issues of nationwide safety. Each lawsuits have 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 might be troublesome to implement.
TikTok says it has not shared and wouldn’t share U.S. person knowledge with the Chinese language authorities and has taken measures to guard the privateness and safety of its customers, together with storing all U.S. person knowledge in america, based on the lawsuit.
Some lawmakers, the FBI and officers at different companies are involved that the video-sharing app might be used to permit the Chinese language authorities to entry info on U.S. residents or push pro-Beijing misinformation that would affect the general public.
Chinese language legislation compels Chinese language firms to share knowledge 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 Celebration is utilizing TikTok as a instrument to spy on Individuals by accumulating private info, keystrokes, and even the places of its customers — and by extension, folks with out TikTok who affiliate with customers could have details about themselves shared with out even understanding it,” Emily Flower, a spokesperson for the Montana Division of Justice, stated in an announcement.
“We anticipated authorized challenges and are absolutely ready to defend the legislation that helps shield 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 will superb any “entity” — an app retailer or TikTok — $10,000 per day for every time somebody “is obtainable the flexibility” 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 an government order that was halted in federal courts. Congress has additionally thought-about banning the app over safety considerations.