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TikTok has filed a federal lawsuit against Montana in response to recently passed state law that would ban the popular video service in the state.
The trial, deposit in the United States District Court for the District of Montana on Monday, seeks to “prevent the State of Montana from unlawfully banning TikTok,” attorneys for the app’s parent company wrote, Bytedance wrote.
“Montana’s ban restricts free speech in violation of the First Amendment, violates the U.S. Constitution in several other respects, and is preempted by federal law,” the attorneys said.
Last week, Montana became the first US state to ban TikTok over allegations that the Chinese government may be using the app for intelligence gathering operations. When the ban goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024, Apple and Google’s app stores won’t be legally allowed to offer TikTok to users in Montana, though it’s unclear how those companies will be able to enforce it. implement the ban.
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte describe the ban as an “important step” intended to advance “our shared priority of protecting the people of Montana from the surveillance of the Chinese Communist Party.”
TikTok disputes Montana’s allegations that the Chinese government “could access data about TikTok users, and that TikTok exposes minors to harmful online content,” according to the lawsuit.
“Yet the State cites nothing to support these allegations, and mere State speculation ignores the reality that Plaintiff has not and would not share U.S. user data with the Chinese government, and has taken substantial steps to protect the privacy and security of TikTok users, including storing all US user data by default in the US and implementing safeguards to protect US user data,” added the lawyers.
TikTok has come under fire from US lawmakers for its alleged ties to the Chinese government. Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, stood up to tough questions from politicians in March and tried to ease their concerns by highlighting the company’s work with the US tech giant Oracle develop infrastructure in Texas to store and process the data of people in the country.
With the lawsuit, TikTok hopes the court will find Montana’s ban “unconstitutional and preempted by federal law.”
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