US government appeals the injunction against its TikTok ban

The U.S. government is appealing the ruling that blocked the Trump administration’s TikTok ban, according to a new court filing. On December 7, 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols in Washington became the second U.S. judge to block the Commerce Department’s attempt to stop the TikTok app from being downloaded from U.S. app stores, citing threats to national security.

The Trump administration had raised concerns over the videosharing app due to its Chinese ownership by way of parent company ByteDance and the potential risk of TikTok’s U.S. user data being accessed by the Chinese government. This ultimately resulted in President Trump’s decision to use his executive order power to ban TikTok from the U.S. market.

TikTok, in response, had vowed to fight the order in court while it also entered negotiations with American companies over the potential sell-off of its U.S. operations, in case the order was upheld.

However, prior to the Dec. 7 ruling on the matter, a group of TikTok creators successfully challenged the ban, when U.S. Judge Wendy Beetlestone in Pennsylvania issued an injunction that blocked the restrictions that would have otherwise stopped TikTok from operating in the U.S. The creators said the ban would have caused them to lose their income by way of their brand sponsorships and other opportunities afforded by the platform.

Following that order, Judge Nichols in the separate case led by TikTok ruled that Trump overstepped his authority in trying to ban the app from the U.S., referring to the agency’s action as “arbitrary and capricious.”

The U.S. Commerce Dept. spokesperson said at the time of the ruling it would continue to comply with the injunctions but intended to “vigorously defend the [executive order] and the Secretary’s implementation efforts from legal challenges.”

Today, it has followed through on that statement with its appeal.

Of course, the decision as to whether the U.S. will continue its attempt to ban TikTok will ultimately reside with the incoming Biden administration.

The news of today’s filing was first reported by Reuters.

TikTok declined to comment on the appeal.

A Commerce Dept. spokesperson issued the following statement (12/28/20, 1:14 PM ET):

On December 7, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted a nationwide preliminary injunction against the enforcement of Executive Order (E.O.) 13942, limited to the Secretary of Commerce’s Identification of Prohibited Transactions with TikTok/ByteDance. The court’s ruling is consistent with the nationwide preliminary injunction granted by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on October 30, 2020. The Department maintains that the E.O. is fully consistent with law and promotes legitimate national security interests. The Government will continue to comply with the injunctions 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.

US government appeals TikTok injunction by TechCrunch on Scribd