TikTok Ban An Overstep Of Government Authority, Says Judge
The US District Court Judge who blocked Trump’s attempted prohibition of the Chinese-owned app TikTok says the government likely “overstepped its authority” in trying to invoke the ban.
Two separate Federal judges ruled Trump’s administration failed to prove the video-sharing platform TikTok and message app WeChat posed enough of a risk to America’s national security to permanently ban US users from downloading it.
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington blocked the ban on new downloads of ByteDance Ltd’s TikTok on Monday, while On September 19, U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in San Francisco blocked a similar ban on Tencent Holding Ltd.’s WeChat.
In making the rulings, the court found that while there is “ample evidence” China does pose a threat to US national security, there is no evidence the apps themselves are a real problem.
“While the government has established that China’s activities raise significant national security concerns – it has put in scant little evidence that its effective ban of WeChat for all U.S. users addresses those concerns,” Beeler said in her order.
Nichols said TikTok’s Chinese owner would likely succeed in proving the Trump administration exceeded its legal authority in attempting to invoke the ban.
The emergency powers cited by Trump don’t allow him to prohibit “information materials and personal communications.” As TikTok is primarily used for sharing videos and news, Nichols said the app’s content does not plausibly fall under the Espionage Act.
President Trump has previously argued the Chinese owners of TikTok and WeChat are collecting user data from Americans.