Court Says Trump's Plan To Block TikTok Can't Go Into Effect Yet

from the blocked dept

As we noted late on Friday, even with the weird grifty deal between TikTok and Oracle, Trump's ban on TikTok was scheduled to go into effect last night -- but a court was rushing to review a request by TikTok/Bytedance to put in place a temporary injunction to stop the rules from taking effect.

In an emergency hearing on Sunday morning the judge appeared to be inclined to block the injunction, noting:

This was a unilateral decision with very little opportunity for the plaintiffs to be heard and the result, whether we're talking about November or tonight, is a fairly significant deprivation.

If you don't recall, the block had two stages. The first was supposed to go into effect last night, blocking app stores from any new downloads (including updates) for the software. The second would go into effect on November 12th, and that would block other US services from helping TikTok (no optimization, no CDNs, no peering) as well as any use of TikTok's API.

In a ruling late on Sunday, the judge agreed to a preliminary injunction blocking the rules from going into effect last night, but not issuing one blocking the November rules. However, the reasoning is not known, because it was filed as a sealed memorandum, though both parties have been asked to approve unsealing it perhaps as soon as today.

It seems likely that the reasoning will be at least somewhat similar to the preliminary injunction that blocked the WeChat ban from going into effect: that you can't just magically wave your arms around and scream "national security" to ban entire communications platform from the US -- especially without addressing the 1st Amendment concerns.

The Commerce Department put out a brief statement saying that the Executive Order is "fully consistent with the law" (it isn't) and "promotes legitimate national security interests" (it doesn't). However, it also says it will comply with the injunction, but will "vigorously defend" the E.O. from legal challenges.

On September 27, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted a nationwide preliminary injunction against the implementation of Executive Order (E.O.) 13942, limited to the Secretary of Commerce’s Identification of Prohibited Transactions with TikTok/ByteDance involving ‘any provision of services… to distribute or maintain the TikTok mobile application, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store.’ The E.O. is fully consistent with the law and promotes legitimate national security interests. 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.

In other words, this isn't over yet by a long shot.

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Filed Under: ban, china, commerce department, executive order, injunction, preliminary injunction, wilbur ross
Companies: bytedance, tiktok


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  1. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 30 Sep 2020 @ 8:02am

    Re:

    I have to correct you on a few points;

    "...He didn’t have a majority of Americans on his side — only enough Americans in enough states to ensure an Electoral College victory..."

    I'd argue that at this stage - and even as demonstrated by GWB earlier on - it's a complete non-issue who actually voted for whom. The only thing that matters is that republicans have tried to dismantle US democracy for a long, long time. And have succeeded.
    As the previous generation of liberals felt compelled to keep attempting a dialogue with the opposition which had abandoned any semblance of good faith or the trappings of civilization decades ago, the current system is now prepped to guarantee democracy can be set aside. The constitution, with a republican supermajority in SCOTUS, no longer applies.

    "I’ll take “less funny to people outside the U.S. who aren’t directly affected by the nationalist authoritarian, his open fascism, and the enablers of that fascism”..."

    I think most people do - inside or outside the US. But bear in mind that most of us still remember - vividly - the way GWB and his neocons did to the rest of the world with his "War on Terror" what Trump now does to his own people. We outside the US can't do jack shit about either case until at some point Trump's eventual GOP successor crows "Today, America, tomorrow, ze world!". You may have to forgive a certain amount of bitterness coming from abroad.

    As I stated in an earlier comment, Mr. "Prump" may just be the last laugh we can get out of US politics for the foreseeable future, dark and dry though it may be. I'm pretty sure Hindenburg...I mean, Biden will be a lot of things if he's elected, but the odds are fair all he'll be good for is inheriting the net effects of the harm Trump has done and spend his time staving off the collapse until next election again when the GOP can present a genuine strongman to "get shit done".


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