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US Judge says Trump administration can’t ban TikTok

A federal judge in the US has blocked the ban on short video app TikTok, imposed by the Trump administration. In his opinion, US district judge Carl J Nichols said that the government likely exceeded the International Emergency Economic Powers Act’s (IEEPA) limitations while blocking US transactions with the app. Nichols had in September passed an order that allowed people to continue downloading the app in the US. IEEPA’s grant of authority does not include the “authority to regulate or prohibit, directly  or indirectly . . . any . . . personal communication, which does not involve a transfer of anything of value,” Nichols held. He said that while the government has provided enough evidence that China is a significant national security threat to the US, the evidence it provided claiming that ByteDance and TikTok pose the same threats, are “less substantial”. It also said that shutting down TikTok would cause the company irreparable harm, and the government could not offer the court any reason to depart from that conclusion. On August 6, Trump signed an executive order banning US transactions with Bytedance over national security concerns. In that order, Trump had invoked the IEEPA, and declared TikTok and WeChat as threats to US’s national security, and its citizens’s privacy. In response to the August 6 order, TikTok had filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, arguing that the executive order was a “gross misappropriation” of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and a “pretext for furthering the President’s…

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