TikTok files lawsuit to overturn Montana ban on short-video app

  • TikTok filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to overturn Montana’s first ban on the app.
  • TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, says it has not and will not share US user data with China.
  • TikTok’s lawsuit follows one filed last week by five content creators on the platform.

HELEN, Mont. (AP) – Social media company TikTok Inc. filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to overturn Montana’s first ban on the video-sharing app, arguing the law is an unconstitutional violation of human rights. freedom of speech and is based on “unfounded speculation” that the Chinese government might be accessing user data.

The lawsuit by TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, follows one filed last week by five content creators. They made similar arguments, including that the state of Montana lacks the authority to take national security action. Both lawsuits were filed in federal court in Missoula.

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the bill into law on Wednesday, and the content creators’ lawsuit was filed hours later. The law is expected to come into force on January 1.

TikTok says it has not and will not share US user data with the Chinese government and has taken steps to protect the privacy and security of its users, including storing all US user data in the states. United, according to the lawsuit.

Some lawmakers, the FBI and officials from other agencies fear the video-sharing app could be used to allow the Chinese government to access information about US citizens or spread pro-Beijing misinformation that could influence the public.

Chinese law requires Chinese companies to share data with the government for any purpose it deems to involve national security. TikTok says that never happened.

“The Chinese Communist Party uses TikTok as a tool to spy on Americans by collecting personal information, keystrokes, and even the locations of its users — and by extension, people without TikTok who affiliate with users may have information about themselves being shared without even knowing it,” Emily Flower, a spokesperson for the Montana Department of Justice, said in a statement.

“We expected legal challenges and are fully prepared to defend the law that helps protect the privacy and security of Montana residents,” she wrote.

The federal government and about half of US states, including Montana, have banned TikTok from government-owned devices.

New Montana law bans TikTok downloads in the state. This would result in a fine of $10,000 per day for any “entity” – an app store or TikTok – whenever someone “is offered the opportunity” to access the social media platform or download the app. Penalties would not apply to users.


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