A federal judge in Montana (USA) blocked the law SB 419 passed by the state’s governor in May, according to which a ban on the operation of the video service TikTok would come into force in the state from January 1, 2024. The judge noted that, among other things, Montana failed to explain what the original SB 419 bill would have looked like “constitutionally permissible”.
“Despite the state’s attempt to defend SB 419 as a consumer protection law, the current situation leaves no doubt that the Montana Legislature and Attorney General were more interested in targeting China’s alleged role in TikTok than Montana consumers to protect.” Judge Donald Molloy said in the ruling, noting that this is particularly true because the same state legislature passed a separate law aimed at broadly protecting digital data and user privacy.
A TikTok representative was happy about this “unconstitutional” the law was rejected, and that “Hundreds of thousands of Montanans will continue to be able to express themselves, earn a living and find engaging communities on TikTok.”
The Montana Attorney General’s Office, in turn, noted that the judge’s decision was “preliminary” and that the state had the opportunity to present arguments in favor of passing this law. “This protects Montanans from having their data collected and used by the Chinese Communist Party.”
In May, ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, sued Montana “Stop Montana from illegally banning TikTok.” To dispel any doubts about a possible data leak of US citizens to China, TikTok launched a $1.5 billion Project Texas program to locate data using Oracle services.