TikTok is suing Montana for the first US state to ban it

TikTok is suing Montana to prevent the US state from banning it over national security concerns, arguing the move is “unlawful” and “unconstitutional”.

The social media app, owned by China’s ByteDance, filed the lawsuit in federal court on Monday, days after Montana’s governor signed the first bill to ban app stores from downloading TikTok starting in January. in the state. It would also ban the app from operating in the western state of about 1.1 million people.

The proposed ban comes as governments and regulators around the world have raised fears that TikTok’s ties to China could allow the app to collect data on its users for spying purposes. TikTok in particular has become a flashpoint for growing tensions between China and the United States, where it has 150 million users, with Washington calling on the short-form video app to split from its Chinese parent or face a federal ban.

In Monday’s lawsuit, TikTok argued that the Montana law violated its First Amendment right to free speech and that the alleged national security concerns it used to justify the ban were “solely federal concerns.”

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The company also said the ban violates U.S. rules on foreign and interstate commerce and is actually an unconstitutional “executive declaration” — a law that declares a group guilty of a crime without a trial.

“The state took these extraordinary and unprecedented measures based on nothing more than baseless speculation,” the lawsuit states.

Under the Montana law, TikTok and app stores such as Apple and Google could be fined $10,000 per day for non-compliance.

Last week, a group of TikTok creators filed their own lawsuit under the First Amendment Act.

The lawsuit sets up a potential court battle over free speech, even after TikTok has tried to distance itself from its parent company by spending more than $1.5 billion on “Project Texas,” a corporate restructuring plan to protect user data and content from Chinese influence. aims to protect.

But talks on the deal have stalled, and earlier this year the US government threatened to ban TikTok if its Chinese owners did not sell their stake, a move Beijing has publicly opposed.

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Former President Donald Trump tried to ban the app in the United States in 2020, but the attempt was stopped by the courts. TikTok was recently banned from government devices in the US, UK, Canada and the EU.

“We are challenging Montana’s unconstitutional ban on TikTok to protect our business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in Montana,” a TikTok spokesperson said Monday. “We believe our legal challenge will prevail based on extremely strong precedents and facts.”

Source: https://www.ft.com/content/0c4773e2-0a34-4fd4-846f-5c2c6f5de95a