On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals will hear the arguments of the Trump administration’s appeal against a judge order that prohibits the prohibition of China-owned TikTok in domestic app stores.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols banned the Commerce Department’s order hours in Washington on September 27 before banning new downloads of the short video sharing application.

The ban will require Apple and Alphabet’s Google to remove the application from their stores, thereby preventing new users from downloading the application or preventing existing users from downloading updated versions. It will not prevent existing users from accessing applications on their devices.

The appeal panel consists of judges Judith Rogers, Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins. All three candidates were nominated by the former Democratic president. The argument is scheduled to begin at 9:30 AM Eastern Time (8:00 PM US Standard Time) and last 20 minutes.

On December 4, the Trump administration chose not to grant a new order extension to TikTok owner ByteDance, which required the company to divest TikTok’s assets in the United States, but negotiations on the fate of this short video sharing application continued.

The order issued by President Donald Trump in August gave the Justice Department the power to execute the divestment order after the deadline expired, but a week later, the Justice Department has not yet appeared in court to seek forced divestment.

The Trump administration argued that TikTok poses a national security risk because the Chinese government can obtain personal data of American users. TikTok, which has 100 million users in the United States, denies this accusation.

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Under pressure from the U.S. government, ByteDance has been in negotiations for months to finalize deals with Walmart and Oracle to transfer TikTok’s U.S. assets to a new entity designed to satisfy the divestiture order.

On December 7, Judge Nichols separately approved a preliminary injunction prohibiting the US Department of Commerce from imposing restrictions on TikTok, which would effectively prohibit the use of TikTok in the United States.

Nichols issued the order in a lawsuit filed by ByteDance after Judge Wendy Beetlestone of Pennsylvania, USA, blocked the same restriction that will take effect on November 12.

The Department of Commerce has tried to prohibit data custody for TikTok, content delivery services and other technology transactions in the United States.

© Thomson Reuters 2020


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