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TikTok sues Montana over statewide app ban

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Helena, Mont. – Social media company TikTok Inc filed a lawsuit on Monday to overturn Montana’s first ban in the country on the video-sharing app, arguing that the law is an unconstitutional violation of free speech rights and is based on “unfounded speculation” that The Chinese government can access users’ data.

TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, has been sued by five content creators last week. He made similar arguments that the state of Montana had no authority to act on matters of national security. Both lawsuits were filed in federal court in Missoula.

Read more: Critics say Montana’s TikTok ban is a violation of free speech. here’s what to know

Greg Gianforte signed the bill on Wednesday and the content creators’ lawsuit was filed hours later. The law is due to take effect on January 1, but cyber security experts say it could be difficult to enforce.

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

Some lawmakers, officials from the FBI and other agencies worry that the video-sharing app could be used to allow the Chinese government to access information on US citizens or push pro-Beijing misinformation that could affect the public. Could

Read more: Why is the FBI worried about TikTok?

Chinese law obliges Chinese companies to share data with the government for purposes that are deemed to involve national security. Tiktok says this never happened.

“The Chinese Communist Party is using TikTok as a tool to spy on Americans by collecting the personal information, keystrokes and even locations of its users — and by extension, people without TikTok who are users. are affiliated with, information about them may be shared without them knowing. It,” Emily Flower, a spokeswoman for the Montana Department of Justice, said in a statement.

“We anticipate legal challenges and stand fully prepared to defend the law that helps protect the privacy and security of Montanans,” she wrote.

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

Read more: Why the US and other countries want to ban or ban TikTok

Montana’s new law bans the download of TikTok in the state. It will also fine any “entity” – an app store or TikTok – $10,000 a day for every time it offers someone “the ability to access the social media platform or download the app”. The penalty will not apply to users.

Talks about a TikTok ban have been ongoing since 2020, when then-President Donald Trump attempted to block the company from operating in the US through an executive order that was stayed in federal courts. Congress has also considered banning the app over security concerns.

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