An Attorney General in Montana asked a United States judge to uphold a ban on TikTok in the state. The short video application, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, responded to the ban in May and attempted to block the state ban. According to TikTok, the restriction violates the First Amendment’s free speech rights. In addition, TikTok users have also filed a separate lawsuit in Montana.
However, Attorney General Austin Knudsen, stated on Monday that the decision was correct and that the governor “did the right thing in prohibiting TikTok from operating in Montana as long as it is under the control of a foreign adversary.” Knudsen, who is a Republican, affirmed that Montana is able to ban “harmful” products and that this does not violate free speech rights. He assured:
“Were it otherwise, Montana would be powerless to ban a cancer-causing radio merely because that radio also transmitted protected speech, or to ban sports-betting apps merely because those apps also shared informative videos teaching their users the intricacies of sports gambling.”
This is not the first time TikTok has had controversies with politicians in the United States. Other states have proposed a nationwide ban on the app for concerns about the Chinese government controlling confidential information and private data from users. In response, TikTok has answered to these allegations stating that it “has not shared, and would not share, U.S. user data with the Chinese government, and has taken substantial measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok users.”