Politics Judge's ruling creates fresh hurdle for Trump's TikTok ban

04:40  29 september  2020
04:40  29 september  2020 Source:   thehill.com

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Judge blocks TikTok ban in second ruling against Trump ’ s efforts to curb popular Chinese services. The ruling comes hours before TikTok was to be TikTok received a reprieve of its ban from U. S . app stores on Sunday after a federal judge in Washington granted a preliminary injunction blocking

President Donald Trump ’ s ban on TikTok was temporarily blocked by a federal judge , dealing a blow to the government in its The ticktock lawyer had told the federal judge the impending ban that was as I said due to take place in four hours time was irrational given that it' s apparent bite dance is in talks to

a sign on the side of a building: Judge's ruling creates fresh hurdle for Trump's TikTok ban © Getty Images Judge's ruling creates fresh hurdle for Trump's TikTok ban

The decision by a federal judge Sunday to temporarily block a federal ban on TikTok marks another setback to President Trump's efforts to quickly overhaul how the Chinese-owned platform does business in the U.S.

The ruling also creates more confusion around the wildly popular video app's continued U.S. operations. Beijing-based ByteDance has yet to receive final approval from the federal government on its new business arrangement with Oracle and Walmart, and the pending deal does not appear to require the Chinese company to fully divest itself of TikTok.

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TikTok has been granted a last-minute reprieve from Donald Trump ’ s executive order banning the service from US app stores, after a judge in Washington DC temporarily blocked the ban from taking effect on Sunday evening. The order, which was due to take effect at one minute to midnight, was the

District Judge Carl Nichols, who has promised to rule on a TikTok request to block the president' s order before it takes effect at 11:59 pm Sunday (0359 GMT Monday), heard arguments on the free-speech and national security implications of the Trump ban on the Chinese-owned app.

All of the concerns around TikTok also feed into broader efforts by the Trump administration to clamp down on Chinese tech companies across various sectors as tensions between the two countries increase.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, cited larger concerns around China in a ruling unsealed Monday, writing that while the Trump administration "has provided ample evidence that China presents a significant national security threat," the "specific evidence of the threat" posed by TikTok "remains less substantial."

The order allows TikTok to operate normally in the U.S. at least until a full court hearing can be held. The hearing has not yet been scheduled.

The order by Nichols blocks a Commerce Department deadline that would have removed TikTok from app stores on Sept. 27, though Trump's executive order from August does not prevent the app's use on U.S. devices that have already downloaded TikTok. The judge's order leaves in place a Nov. 12 deadline that would completely ban the use of TikTok in the U.S. if a deal is not reached between the Trump administration and the company.

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Judge Temporarily Blocks Trump ’ s Ban on TikTok . App will still be available to download in app stores, but ruling did not address other restrictions set to take A judge granted TikTok a preliminary injunction to halt a Trump administration ban that would've removed the app from app stores.

TikTok filed the case in response to Trump order, saying even a temporary ban would "inflict devastating and irreparable harm" on the service. But the TikTok order stops short of a full ban until November 12, giving parent firm ByteDance time to conclude a deal to transfer ownership of the app.

The Nov. 12 date coincides with efforts by the Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to come to a conclusion on TikTok and on Chinese communications app WeChat. Should a deal be reached, the court case will likely be dropped.

The court case is in response to a pair of executive orders issued by Trump in August that are aimed at forcing ByteDance to divest itself of TikTok due to national security concerns.

Brian Fleming, former counsel to the assistant attorney general for national security at the Justice Department during the Obama and Trump administrations, told The Hill that he believed a deal will ultimately be reached allowing the app to continue operating.

"There is too much at stake for a deal not to be reached, and that goes from all sides of it," said Fleming, who is a member of law firm Miller and Chevalier Chartered.

He pointed to the Trump administration wanting to "claim victory and save face" after both the Commerce Department actions against TikTok and WeChat were temporarily scuttled in court. A federal judge in California also issued a temporary injunction halting the government's ban against WeChat, which is often used by Chinese Americans to communicate with friends and family in China.

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A federal judge ’ s preliminary injunction means the app stores can continue offering the video app for downloads for now. President Trump issued executive orders in early August that effectively banned TikTok and WeChat in the United States.Credit Narinder Nanu/Agence France-Presse

The judge denied TikTok ’ s request to suspend the November 12 ban . The decision represents a temporary A ban would “also create a dangerous precedent” for the open internet, the brief said. Earlier this month, Trump cited national security concerns and issued orders to ban both TikTok and

As of Monday, the proposed TikTok deal under consideration by both Beijing and Washington would establish a U.S.-headquartered TikTok Global and include a partnership with American companies Oracle and Walmart, but would preserve the involvement of ByteDance.

Fleming noted that should the deal with the CFIUS not be reached, the administration would likely need to give the court evidence of specific national security risks related to TikTok in order to win the case, such as providing classified evidence.

"The public version of the stated national security considerations, while broadly speaking are compelling, are not necessarily tied very neatly to the considerations that are animating the ban," Fleming said.

Moves against TikTok and WeChat follow efforts by the Trump administration and Congress to clamp down on other Chinese tech companies, including telecommunications giant Huawei and Chinese chipmaker SMIC, citing concerns around the companies' ties to the Chinese government and the security of U.S. data.

Geoffrey Gertz, a fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution, told The Hill that a "bigger, more long-term question" revolves around the Trump administration being more "transparent" with the public, including more than 100 million TikTok users in the U.S., about specific security risks.

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Judge Carl Nichols of United States District Court for the District of Columbia temporarily blocked the TikTok ban shortly before it was due to come TikTok says that the Trump administration has agreed in principle to its deal with Oracle and Walmart that would create a new, US-based company called

A federal judge in Washington has granted a preliminary injunction to TikTok , temporarily blocking President Trump ' s ban on the video-sharing app. Had the injunction not been granted, TikTok would have been removed from Apple and Google' s app stores Sunday night.

"A lot of people are asking questions of whether this is legitimate national security or just a way for Trump to go after China," Gertz said. "The U.S. government needs to be able to persuade people who are skeptical of its motivations that they are, in fact, in good faith."

Both TikTok and WeChat have fought back against the administration, with TikTok applauding the temporary order handed down over the weekend.

"We will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees," a TikTok spokesperson told The Hill in a statement. "At the same time, we will also maintain our ongoing dialogue with the government to turn our proposal, which the President gave his preliminary approval to last weekend, into an agreement."

TikTok has also taken steps to address some security concerns, including moving user data to the U.S., opening its algorithm to scrutiny by cybersecurity experts and publishing transparency reports.

The outcomes for TikTok and WeChat could differ based on the Commerce Department's seemingly harder stance against WeChat and on TikTok's much broader presence in the U.S.

"The WeChat case is always going to be a little trickier, and I think on the whole might be a greater chance of success ultimately for the government because it is not a U.S. company, the U.S. presence is substantial because of the user base, but at the same time it's not as deeply rooted in the U.S. as it is in China," Fleming said.

TikTok ban on new downloads has been delayed by federal judge

  TikTok ban on new downloads has been delayed by federal judge Judge Carl Nichols (D.D.C) has delayed the ban.The US Justice Department had until Friday to either delay the ban or file legal papers defending it. The DOJ filed a sealed opposition to TikTok's preliminary injunction to block the ban of the video app, but the Judge Carl Nichols has ruled in TikTok's favor.

TikTok and WeChat could also face different fates based on the results of the U.S. presidential election.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden told reporters last week that he was concerned about the access TikTok has to U.S. user data, and the Biden campaign ordered staffers to delete the app from their devices in July.

Fleming noted that while he expected a deal to be reached before Election Day to prevent a "startling deal of uncertainty" in hammering out a deal during a potential administration change, a Biden administration would likely still take a hard-line stance against Chinese tech groups.

"If the end goal here is to centralize control of the data in the US and take away the ability of Beijing and the Chinese government to have access to that data and do mischief to it, even if Biden were to win, I don't think he and his national security team would view that as unworthy goals. I don't think there would be any moves or signals afoot to undo any of that," Fleming said.

Video: Ban on TikTok has been put on hold (ABC News)

TikTok ‘not a great look’ for lawmakers, security experts say .
Despite official warnings for nearly a year about the security risks of the Chinese-owned TikTok video-sharing app, several politicians who might be ideal targets for Beijing’s spies still have accounts. These include two former presidential candidates, plus members of Congress who oversee military, intelligence and digital security programs. Also on the list are at least […] The post TikTok ‘not a great look’ for lawmakers, security experts say appeared first on Roll Call.

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