Update: US judge rules to halt Trump administration’s TikTok app store ban

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/28 8:29:13

TikTok US Photo: VCG

A US judge on Sunday ruled to temporarily block the US government's ban on downloads of the popular video-sharing app TikTok, giving its parent company ByteDance some breathing space to reach a deal to save its US operations.

In the wake of an emergency hearing on Sunday, US District Judge Carl Nichols granted TikTok's request for a temporary restraining order against a ban by the Trump administration. 

"We're pleased that the court agreed with our legal arguments and issued an injunction preventing the implementation of the TikTok app ban. We will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees," TikTok said following the judge ruling. 

Meanwhile TikTok said that it will maintain the ongoing dialogue with the government to turn its proposal with US firms, which Trump gave preliminary approval to last weekend, into an agreement.

US Commerce Department said Sunday that "The goverment will comply with the injunction and has taken immediate steps to do so, but intends to vigorously defend the executive order and the Secretary's implementation efforts from legal challenges." 

Depite the temporary positive result, experts said that China will take further actions to prevent TikTok and its technologies from being taken over by the US to protect its national security and the interests of its enterprises.

That result is within expectation as the Trump administration already granted a one-week reprieve last week following a tentative deal between TikTok and Oracle. TikTok has around 100 million users in the US and 700 million across the world, making it one of the most popular video-sharing applications.

But the new court ruling won't fully address the issue as the Trump administration continues its push toward a full ban of TikTok.

US President Donald Trump initially signed an executive order imposing a November 12 deadline for ByteDance to sell or "spin off" TikTok's operations in the US on national security grounds.

After the deal was revealed between ByteDance and US multinational tech firm Oracle forming a business partnership, the US Justice Department moved to add pressure on the Chinese firm by claiming on Friday that ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming is "a mouthpiece" of the Communist Party of China and the firm's close relationship with Chinese authorities endangers American citizens' security.

All of the capricious actions taken by the Trump administration against TikTok aim to contain China and the country's world-class companies, experts said, stressing that China will resolutely fight back to safeguard the interests of its enterprises while preventing the US' hegemonic mind-set.

Dangerous precedent

Whatever the final result for the TikTok's US business, the US' misdeeds have set a dangerous precedent for other countries, said Liu Dingding, a veteran industry analyst and close follower of the TikTok issue.

A tentative deal recently unveiled made US multinational tech firm Oracle a trusted partner and shareholder in a new entity in the US known as TikTok Global, in which the Chinese firm would reportedly maintain majority ownership and won't transfer its algorithm to US companies.

"If the US-manipulated restructuring of TikTok becomes a template [for future deals], it would mean that world-class companies that have core competitiveness would be like 'lambs' that can be wantonly slaughtered by the US government when they enter the US market," Liu said.

China won't "bend over" to the US' aggression, however, because if it did so, other countries might follow the US' lead and push Chinese firms with the same excuses, and they may even go further than the US did, said Zuo Xiaodong, vice president of the China Information Security Research Institute.

"The Trump administration is so crazy that it considers any Chinese firm that collects user data in normal business operations as a [national security] threat. According to the US' hegemonic logic, China should have banned a number of US high-tech companies as China heavily purchased from the US for its information industry development over the past years," Zuo said.

In a move to protect its own interests and security, China in August added algorithms to its export control list for the first time. On September 19, the country also issued provisions for its long-awaited first "unreliable entity list," aiming to penalize foreign entities and individuals that undermine China's national interests and Chinese firms' legitimate rights.

At a time when most countries are concerned about the security of user data, large economies like the US should lead the development of internationally recognized data collection and use standards to benefit the long-term development of the information industry rather than targeting certain powerful companies, Zuo said.

Global Times

Posted in: COMPANIES

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