TikTok filed a lawsuit on Monday against the US state of Montana over the law, enacted last week, which prohibits the use of the application in the said territory from 2024. Through a statement released by Twitter, the social network owned by the Chinese company ByteDance has assured that this veto is “unconstitutional”.
“We are challenging the unconstitutional ban on TikTok in Montana to protect our business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in Montana. We believe our legal recourse will prevail based on an extremely strong set of precedents and facts,” they say.
TikTok points out that the veto violates the first amendment of the US Constitution
The original application from China points out that the veto approved by the governor of Montana, the Republican Greg Gianforte, violates the Constitution of the United States; specifically the first amendment. This is the one that protects freedom of expression and interferes in federal affairs.
In the lawsuit, TikTok defended itself against Montana’s accusations that the application collected data from its 200,000 users (the ones they have in that state), with the intention of delivering it to the Chinese Communist Party. The social network indicated that they were “unsubstantiated speculation”, and stressed that “it has not shared and will not share user data with the Chinese government.”
However, despite the fact that TikTok continues to deny these accusations, the United States has been investigating this possible espionage and this involvement of the Communist Party for some time. In fact, the FBI already pointed out that this application posed a threat to national security. But, to further add to the loop, a former ByteDance executive claimed that the Chinese Communist Party had an office inside the company and had “supreme access to all company data, including data stored in the US.”
Content creators join the demand
A group of five content creators residing in the US state of Montana have also filed a lawsuit against the new law that prohibits the use of Tiktok. The CNN has had access to the text of the complaint and the influencers They point out that they are violating freedom of expression. “Montana cannot prohibit its residents from viewing or posting on TikTok, nor can it prohibit the Wall Street Journal because of who owns it or the ideas it publishes.”
In the complaint they emphasize that this rule also infringes other rights and goes beyond what is highlighted by ByteDance. In this case, the content creators refer to the fourteenth amendment to the constitution, which indicates that a fair trial must be established before withdrawing a freedom from the citizenry, among others.
The law will enter into force in January 2024 and non-compliance with the rule by mobile application services (Google Play or App Store) will be penalized with a fine of a minimum of 9,200 euros, if they allow users to download TikTok residents in Montana.
Can the veto work? What the experts say
Cyber security experts have pointed out that it is very difficult, if not impossible to properly enforce the law. They argue that the United States does not have a tool equivalent to the type of control that exists in China to know what its citizens have access to. In fact, a TechNet representative has already explained that application stores do not have the function of geolocating the territories where applications are downloaded.
On the other hand, Recon Analytics telecoms analyst Roger Etner noted that app stores may have the ability to enforce the law, thanks to linked billing at Apple and Google addresses. However, there are loopholes, since the IP address can be spoofed thanks to the use of VPN. For their part, Apple and Google have not ruled on the matter.
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