TikTok argues for First Amendment rights as judge prevents Trump order
A federal judge granted a company request for a temporary injunction against a Trump executive order that would ban the Chinese video app TikTok from U.S. app stores.
“Judge Carl Nichols’ opinion was issued under seal, so his exact reasoning for the order is not public. But during the emergency hearing, Nichols indicated that the Trump administration’s ban, as structured, could be considered a ‘fairly significant deprivation’ of the company’s due process rights,” reports CNN.
The Trump administration is seeking to ban the TikTok app under an executive order (E.O.) as dangerous to national security, citing TikTok’s close ties to the Chinese communist regime.
“The E.O. is fully consistent with the law and promotes legitimate national security interests,” says a statement by the Commerce Department that sought the ban. “The Government will comply with the injunction and has taken immediate steps to do so, but intends to vigorously defend the E.O. and the Secretary’s implementation efforts from legal challenges.”
Previously, the Commerce Department said that TikTok gathered information about users including location data, browsing history, search history and network activity and “is an active participant in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP.”
Under Chinese law, all Chinese citizens and companies are required to cooperate with Chinese state security in any matter that authorities demand, including “the nefarious purposes” claimed by the Trump administration.
The lawyer for TikTok argued that suspension of downloads for the app would be a violation of the First Amendment rights of the Chinese company while the November election remains in the balance.
“If that prohibition goes into effect at midnight, the consequences immediately are grave,” said TikTok lawyer John Hall. “It would be no different than the government locking the doors to a public forum, roping off that town square” at a time when free exchange of ideas is necessary heading into a polarized election according to USA Today.
The government argued that Chinese government entities don’t enjoy First Amendment protections in the U.S nor do foreign companies subject to trade restrictions.
“This is the most immediate national security threat,” argued Justice Department lawyer Daniel Schwei. “It is a threat today. It is a risk today and therefore it deserves to be addressed today even while other things are ongoing and playing out.”
The People’s State Daily, China’s largest newspaper has urged TikTok to sue the U.S. government to prevent the Trump administration order.
“#China supports relevant companies in taking up legal weapons to safeguard their legitimate rights and interests, FM spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Monday. #TikTok’s parent company #ByteDance announced on Sunday to file a lawsuit against the Trump Administration on Aug 24,” the paper said via Twitter.
PHOTO: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
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