TikTok Download Ban Is Blocked by Second Judge - Telenor

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December 8, 2020

TikTok Download Ban Is Blocked by Second Judge


(WSJ) A second federal judge has blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to ban TikTok downloads in the U.S., underscoring the dwindling legal options the Trump administration has to pursue an outright ban of the popular app.


On Monday, Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., granted a preliminary injunction that stops the Commerce Department from implementing restrictions on TikTok that would have essentially banned the app in the U.S.


Judge Nichols said the government’s ban likely overstepped its authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, calling the action arbitrary and capricious.


Judge Nichols’s order follows an October decision from a case that TikTok creators brought in Pennsylvania court, arguing that the ban would have deprived them of their income and their ability to express themselves. The judge in that suit, Wendy Beetlestone, blocked the restrictions on Oct. 30.


The Commerce Department had been set on Nov. 12 to restrict U.S. companies from conducting transactions with TikTok, including hosting the company’s data and delivering the company’s content, which would have essentially made the app inoperable in the U.S.


The Commerce Department’s restrictions followed an August order that President Trump signed, calling for TikTok to be shut down or, alternatively, sold to a U.S. company. The administration said it feared TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance Ltd. could share information about U.S. users with the Chinese government, which the company said it would never do.


TikTok is an app that allows users to watch and share short videos. About 100 million people in the U.S. use the app on a monthly basis, according to TikTok.


“We’re pleased that the court agreed with us and granted a preliminary injunction against all the prohibitions of the Executive Order,” a spokeswoman for TikTok said in a statement.


The Commerce Department didn’t  immediately respond to a request for comment.


Judge Nichols in September blocked an earlier, less onerous ban from the Commerce Department that would have stopped new users in the U.S. from downloading the app.


ByteDance is currently in talks with the U.S. government to finalize a proposed deal to address the national security concerns.


Source: Wall Street Journal by Georgia Wells

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