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US Commerce Department TikTok Ban Order Blocked By US Judge

US Commerce Department TikTok Ban Order Blocked By US Judge
An order from the Commerce Department of the United States against the Chinese owned short video messaging app TikTok that was to take effect from November 12 and which would have effectively barred the app from operating in the United States was blocked by a US judge in Pennsylvania on Friday.
The US commerce Department was ordered by the not US District Court Judge Wendy Beetlestone not to bar the Chinese owner of the app, ByteDance, from data hosting within the United States for TikTok, delivery of content to users and other technical transactions.
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 U.S. users use the app on a daily basis,” Beetlestone said in her ruling.
There were no comments on the ruling available from the US Commerce Department. The Department has however acknowledged that the restrictions would “significantly reduce the functionality and usability of the app in the United States” and “may ultimately make the application less effective.”
A legal suit was filed in court earlier by TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance against the Department order and US District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington issued a preliminary injunction in that suit on September 27 which effectively prevented the Commerce Department from ordering Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google app stores to not allow any further download by ne users of TikTok from their app stores. That order had been set to take effect later that day.
The other aspects of the Commerce Department order that Beetlestone blocked on Friday are set to be heard by Nichols in a November 4 hearing.
The app store download ban has also been blocked by the order by Beetlestone in relation to a legal case that had been filed by in court by three TikTok content creators.
It was “deeply moved by the outpouring of support” form its users “who have worked to protect their rights to expression”, TikTok said in a statement.
Even with the court cases going on, there have been negotiations on going for finalizing a preliminary deal for Walmart Inc and Oracle Corp to take stakes in a new company called TikTok Global that ByteDance will form. The new company would oversee US operations of TikTok. Last month US president Donald Trump had said that the deal had his “blessing.”
According to allegations against TikTok, the Trump administration believes that the Chinese app is a threat to the national security of the country a the company collects personal data of millions of American users and then could potentially hand them over to the Chinese government.
These allegations have been denied by TikTok and ByteDance.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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