US judge blocks Trump bid to ban TikTok

WION Web Team Washington, DC, United States of America Oct 31, 2020, 06.45 AM(IST) Oct 31, 2020, 06.47 AM(IST)

TikTok Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

TikTok said in a statement it was "deeply moved by the outpouring of support" form its users "who have worked to protect their rights to expression."

A US federal judge has issued an injunction temporarily blocking an executive order by President Donald Trump aimed at banning TikTok, throwing up a legal roadblock ahead of a November 12 deadline.

TikTok said in a statement it was "deeply moved by the outpouring of support" form its users "who have worked to protect their rights to expression."

US District Court Judge Wendy Beetlestone enjoined the Commerce Department from barring data hosting within the United States for TikTok, content delivery services and other technical transactions.

In her ruling, Beetlestone said the order would "have the effect of shutting down, within the United States, a platform for expressive activity used by approximately 700 million individuals globally. Over 100 million of these TikTok users are within the United States, and at least 50 million of these US users use the app on a daily basis."

It is the second restraint issued in favor of TikTok by US judges against a set of executive orders issued by Trump which sought to ban new downloads of the app beginning in September, and ban it outright by November 12.

Earlier on September 27, US District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington issued a preliminary injunction in a suit brought by TikTok owner ByteDance that stopped the US Commerce Department from ordering Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google app stores to remove TikTok for download by new users. That order had been set to take effect later that day.

Judges in both cases said in rulings that the chances of proving in court that Trump overstepped his authority were good.

They also equated  TikTok to films, photographs, and news wires with legal protections.

Beetlestone noted in her ruling that concerns expressed by the US in justifying the ban were expressed hypothetically.

Talks have been ongoing to finalise a preliminary deal for Walmart Inc and Oracle Corp to take stakes in a new company, TikTok Global, that would oversee US operations. US 
President Donald Trump said last month the deal had his "blessing."

The Trump administration contends TikTok poses national security concerns as personal data collected on 100 million Americans who use the app could be obtained by China`s government.

TikTok has repeatedly defended itself against allegations of data transfers to the Chinese government. 

It says its servers where user information is stored are located in the United States and Singapore.

The company has also said the ban is unnecessary since negotiations are underway to restructure the ownership of TikTok to address national security issues raised by the administration.

A tentative deal has been unveiled that would make Silicon Valley giant Oracle the technology partner for TikTok and a stakeholder in a new entity to be known as TikTok Global.

(with inputs from agencies)

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