Montana's TikTok ban faces lawsuit as experts question feasibility
Following the ban of TikTok in Montana, five platform users file a lawsuit arguing that the ban violates their right to free speech.
After Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed legislation, on Wednesday, prohibiting Chinese-owned TikTok from functioning in the state under the pretext of safeguarding people from alleged Chinese intelligence collection, five TikTok users have filed a lawsuit urging the federal court to overturn the decision.
The ban, which made Montana the first US state to ban TikTok, has been considered, according to the lawsuit, a violation of free speech.
Moreover, the lawsuit argued that through this ban, Montana has attempted to wield national security power that only the federal government can wield, adding that "Montana can no more ban its residents from viewing or posting to TikTok than it could ban the Wall Street Journal because of who owns it or the ideas it publishes."
As the Montana decision goes to court, experts, across the US, have questioned whether the law is even possible in practice.
Tarah Wheeler, chief of cyber security firm Red Queen Dynamics and a senior fellow for Global Cyber Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, argued that to implement such a law, the state "would have to build a Great Fire Wall of Montana."
In that regard, "Maintaining a ban in the state and remaining free of the kind of surveillance you are trying to escape is not possible," explained Wheeler.
Significantly, the Montana ban lawsuit will act as a legal litmus test for a nationwide ban of the platform, which Washington legislators have increasingly called for.
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