U.S. faces ongoing court battles over TikTok, WeChat bans

In this news, we discuss the U.S. faces ongoing court battles over TikTok, WeChat bans.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration faces ongoing legal battles after two legal setbacks in its efforts to prevent U.S. app stores from offering Chinese-owned TikTok or WeChat for download.

In two separate decisions, the judges questioned evidence that the Chinese government is accessing US user data endangering US national security, which prompted the extraordinary orders from the US Department of Commerce.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, who issued an order Sunday night blocking the TikTok download ban that was set for 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, questioned government evidence.

“The government has provided ample evidence that China poses a significant threat to national security, although specific evidence of the threat posed by (TikTok), as well as whether bans are the only effective way to do so. faced with this threat, remain less substantial ”. Nichols wrote in a notice posted Monday.

In the WeChat case, Judge Laurel Beeler of California wrote that “on this case – while the government has established that China’s activities raise significant national security concerns – he has provided little evidence that its effective ban on WeChat for all US users addresses these issues. concerns. “

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Beeler held a hearing on Oct. 15 on the Justice Department’s request to reconsider its decision and allow the WeChat order to take effect immediately.

TikTok owner ByteDance and WeChat owner Tencent Holdings 0700.HK have denied that the apps are being used to spy on Americans.

Nichols, a person appointed by Trump, anticipated further legal filings by the government and TikTok before a final decision on whether to block other restrictions set for November 12.

Nichols also rejected efforts by the Justice Department to invoke the Espionage Act, which allows for life imprisonment or the death penalty for those who share U.S. defense secrets.

“It is not plausible that the movies, photos, artwork, or even personal information that US users share on TikTok falls within the ordinary meaning of espionage law,” Nichols wrote.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Nick Zieminski

Original © Thomson Reuters Corporation

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