Trump administration appeals judge’s ruling on TikTok ban
Image credit: Tashatuvango/Dreamstime
The US government said in a court filing that it was appealing a judge’s ruling that prevented it from prohibiting new downloads of video-sharing app TikTok.
In late September, a US judge temporarily blocked a Trump administration order that was set to bar Apple and Alphabet Inc’s Google from offering new TikTok downloads. The Justice Department said it had appealed the order to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.
The White House contends that TikTok poses national security concerns as personal data collected on 100 million Americans who use the app could be obtained by the Chinese government.
In August, Trump signed a pair of executive orders forbidding transactions with TikTok parent company ByteDance and WeChat parent company Tencent.
Beijing-based ByteDance, which owns TikTok, has been under pressure to sell the popular app following tensions between the US and China. Any deal will need to be reviewed by the US government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the US.
Negotiations are underway for Walmart and Oracle to take stakes in a new company, TikTok Global, that would oversee US operations. Oracle edged out the likes of Microsoft and Twitter to acquire the platform.
However, key terms of the deal – including who will have majority ownership – are in dispute. ByteDance has also said any deal will need to be approved by China. Beijing has revised its own list of technologies subject to export bans, in such a way that gives it a say over any TikTok deal.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has blocked TikTok for failing to filter out “immoral” content, three top government officials said today (9 October).
“We have been asking them repeatedly to put in place an effective mechanism for blocking immoral and indecent content,” said one of the top officials directly involved in the decision. “The platform, however, hasn't been able to fully satisfy Pakistani authorities.”
The decision was taken after Prime Minister Imran Khan took a keen interest in the issue, said a second official in Pakistan, adding that Khan has directed the telecom authorities to make all efforts to block vulgar content in the conservative Islamic republic.
In August, the Trump administration said that it was stepping up efforts to remove “untrusted” Chinese apps, including TikTok and WeChat, and other digital products as part of its Clean Network initiative.
Meanwhile, at the start of 2020, Israeli cyber-security company Check Point discovered security flaws in the video-sharing app, relating to its handling of users’ phone numbers.
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