Judge blocks state-wide TikTok ban over free speech concerns


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What just happened? A judge has blocked a bill that would have introduced a state-wide ban on TikTok in Montana on January 1, saying it violates the free-speech rights of users. The first-of-its-kind law was the result of the data privacy issues that have plagued TikTok, owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, for years.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed Senate Bill 419 in May prohibiting mobile app stores from offering TikTok. Any 'entity,' including TikTok, offering access to the platform or downloading the app after January 1 would have risked fines up to $10,000 per day. Penalties didn't apply to users, so owners didn't have to delete Tiktok, and sideloading the app or using a VPN wouldn't have resulted in a fine.

TikTok sued Montana to block the ban, claiming that Bill 419 violated the First Amendment rights of both users and the company. Some TikTok users also joined the legal battle, filing suit to stop the ban.

Judge Donald Molloy granted TikTok's request for a preliminary injunction yesterday, stating that the ban "violates the Constitution in more ways than one" and "oversteps state power." The Judge said that the people of Montana would have had an important channel of communication restricted by the law, a violation of their First Amendment rights.

Judge Molloy also said that the bill was more about targeting China's role in TikTok than protecting consumers in the state. "SB 419 completely bans TikTok in Montana. It does not limit the application in a targeted way with the purpose of attacking the perceived Chinese problem," he said.

The bill also claimed TikTok failed to remove content deemed dangerous to minors, further justifying its ban. The Judge said another law already shields the protection of children online.

TikTok said it was pleased the judge "rejected this unconstitutional law and hundreds of thousands of Montanans can continue to express themselves, earn a living, and find community on TikTok."

A spokesperson for the Montana attorney-general said the ruling is only a preliminary one that applies while the court examines the case. "We look forward to presenting the complete legal argument to defend the law that protects Montanans from the Chinese Communist party obtaining and using their data," said Emilee Cantrell, via the Financial Times.

TikTok's alleged ties with the Chinese government, which it has repeatedly denied, have led to the federal government and more than half of US states banning it from government workers' devices. The EU commission took similar action this year.

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We should just ban Tik Tok worldwide and be done this this crap.
I tend to agree, but when I'm looking for a quick "how-to" video, I can't help but admit that I use it for just that purpose. I certainly don't scroll on it, it's too brain-melting for me.
The judge obviously dosen't understand the term "Private Company". If these concerns apply then the company should come under the auspices of ALL Government rules and regulations ....
You dont understand what the 1st amendment is, nor how it has been interpreted. The government shutting down a private media company because they dont like said media is a pretty open and shut case.
As much as I dislike Tik-Tok (and most of social media), I understand where the judge is coming from.
Once you start banning some sort of public media platform, for whatever reason, where does it stop?
So, it's OK to have that septic tank named X / Twitter but not Tik Tok??

Why is one septic tank Ok but not the other??

You dont understand what the 1st amendment is, nor how it has been interpreted. The government shutting down a private media company because they dont like said media is a pretty open and shut case.

You obviously don't understand the difference between public and private companies ....
I am not for banning a service like tiktok.
But I definitely feel uneasy knowing how China does not allow
anything like these platforms inside their country, but obviously is
benefitting from their companies to enjoy such ability.
If they do not let our companies to be in their country,
theirs should not be here too.