A group of TikTok users filed a lawsuit to get the Montana state administration to cancel the blocking of this digital platform.
Users of an online service that allows you to create and view short videos claim that Montana Governor Greg Gianforte violated the First Amendment by signing a law blocking access to TikTok. The complaint was filed a few hours after the signature of the head of the region appeared in the text of the bill banning the digital platform.
The initiators of the judicial challenge of the blocking decision compare TikTok with the media and claim that the state does not have the authority to restrict access to such platforms. The complaint states that the regional authorities cannot prohibit residents from publishing or viewing posts on the digital platform, just as they cannot restrict the media in the ability to disseminate information in connection with the identity of the owner or because of the ideological component of the materials.
Five users of this service, who publish their videos here, are challenging the decision to block TikTok in Montana. The lawsuit may be the first challenge to the controversial ban, which represents the maximized embodiment of the policy of restrictions.
Other states have banned the use of TikTok on official government devices. This decision is due to concerns about the platform’s interaction with the Chinese government through the parent company. In Montana, the regional law provides for a ban on the operation of the application in the state and blocks access to downloading it to personal devices. At the same time, penalties will not be imposed on those who continue to use TikTok privately.
In a statement, Gianforte’s spokesman said that the Chinese Communist Party may conceal actions aimed at espionage and collecting personal information, under the pretext of the First Amendment. Special attention is also paid to the Governor’s duty to protect the residents of Montana and their right to privacy.
There is no public evidence that the data of American TikTok users is available to the Chinese government. The CEO of the company stated that the Chinese leadership has never requested personal information.
Emily Flower, a spokeswoman for Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, said the appearance of the lawsuit was expected, and announced the department’s readiness to defend the law.
In addition to the First Amendment compliance requirements, the lawsuit claims that the bill passed in Montana also contradicts the Fourth Amendment and undermines the federal government’s competence under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.