A federal judge has ruled out a Trump administration attempt to ban TikTok downloads for users on USA. The decision gave the Chinese application a short-term victory as it tries to secure its future while in a micro-political battle between global superpowers.
The judge's decision Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, gives the owner of TikTok, ByteDance Ltd., more time to obtain approval from the US and Chinese authorities for a pending agreement involving its acquisition by the Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc.
The court's drama on Sunday, with the ruling coming less than four hours before the ban took effect, was a new chapter in the protracted story, without having a clear end yet.
Ο Πρόεδρος <br><br>Donald Trump earlier this month gave the TikTok deal its "blessing" as a way of tackling its administration's national security concerns. The U.S. Foreign Investment Committee has yet to approve the figures, including the question of who owns the majority. The Chinese government could do the same.
Of course, the ghost of a future US government ban still exists. The Ministry US Trade plans to enforce a total ban on Nov. 12, rendering the application useless to U.S. users unless a U.S. TikTok deal is completed by then.
The courts could also co-operate with the government and allow the ban to proceed. Judge Nichols, who was appointed by President Trump last year, on Sunday asked both sides to propose a timetable for more detailed arguments. He did not immediately explain the decision to block the ban indefinitely. The video platform has become very popular over the past year, especially among young people, and its downloads have increased amid the pandemic.
TikTok reports that the app has more than 50 million daily active users in the US, and 100 million monthly. A company spokesman said in a statement late Sunday that he had satisfied the court and agreed with his legal arguments to end the ban.
"We will continue to defend our rights for the benefit of our community and our workers."
The company also plans to continue discussions with the US government to reach an agreement, the spokesman said. The Commerce Department said in a statement Sunday that it would comply with the mandate, but plans to strongly defend efforts to implement other legal frameworks.
The ruling marked the second time in a week that U.S. courts have rejected the Trump administration's efforts to block American access to applications owned by China. Last week, a US judge ruled to ban the popular messaging app WeChat, after a group of app users sued the government.
Governments in both countries are actively reviewing the proposed ByteDance resolution. In China, officials worry that ByteDance will lose control of its popular application and technology.
In the United States, officials say they are reviewing any deal to achieve their own goal: to control the removal of TikTok from Chinese owners over concerns that data collected by the company from American consumers could be leaked to the Chinese government. US national security.
ByteDance's agreement with Oracle and Walmart is designed to address concerns. Under a preliminary agreement approved by Trump, Oracle and Walmart will receive a combined 20% stake in TikTok Global, a new US headquarters that will manage the global service.
Details of the structure are still under way, said those involved in the talks, as companies try to ensure it gains final approval from both governments.
A point of confusion was the exact division of ownership, on the part of TikTok, and Oracle has issued conflicting messages since the announcement of the preliminary agreement. A ByteDance spokesman said it would directly own 80% of TikTok Global, while Oracle has publicly stated that the Americans will have the majority and ByteDance will have no ownership of TikTok Global.
But another person close to the situation disputed that theory, saying Americans would have a majority once the new company was created. As investigations into the deal continued, the video company told the court on Sunday that a ban on downloads would hurt its business.
"This is just punitive," TikTok's lawyer John Hall said during Sunday's argument. "It's just a blunt way to hit the company right now, doing nothing to achieve the stated goal of bans."
The lawyer of the Ministry of Justice Daniel Schwei defended the federal government's intention to protect the personal data of TikTok users and to stop new users from putting even more data at risk.
The Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has the right to "face the most important, immediate threat to national security, which is new users continuing to register and making their data vulnerable to the Chinese government," Schwei said.
In a note filed with the court on Friday, the US government said one cause for concern was a "high level" of activity between US-based TikTok users and Chinese-owned IP addresses in China. The note also stated that before February 2019, the company had stored US user data in China, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Prior to Sunday's hearing, other tech companies were skeptical of TikTok. "There is no precedent in U.S. history for a complete ban on a social networking platform that directly deprives a quarter of the U.S. population of access to information," she said. NetChoice, a marketing team representing online giants such as Amazon.comInc., FacebookInc .and Google, said in court.
The group also warned that the Trump administration's ban could give other governments "new excuses to block US tech companies from accessing foreign markets." The U.S. government has not provided "evidence that the Communist Party of China or the military has obtained information about TikTok users in the United States," adding that the government could address its concerns in other ways, such as data security guarantees.