The U.S. Court of Appeals on Monday questioned the Trump administration’s efforts by the Trump administration to ban Americans from downloading Chinese – owned Dictoc from U.S. app stores.
U.S. Department of Justice Judge Carl Nichols in Washington on September 27 blocked a Department of Commerce order just hours before banning new downloads of the short video sharing app.
This ban requires Apple and Alphabet to remove the app from their stores, prevent new users from downloading it, or allow existing users to download updated versions. This does not stop existing users from accessing the app on their devices.
Court of Appeal judges Judith Rogers, Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins questioned Dicktock and prosecutors for nearly 90 minutes Monday morning. All three judges were nominated by previous Democrats.
The two judges were skeptical with the federal government’s argument as to whether the case would apply before.
“I know what you’re saying, but Congress wrote this language – it seems to fly in the face,” Rogers said.
On December 4, Trift Management decided not to issue a new extension of an order to Dictok-owner Byte Dance, which seeks to exclude Dictoc’s US assets. DickTok’s lawyer, Beth Brinkman, told the court that “ongoing negotiations” on the fate of the application were ongoing.
President Donald Trump’s order, issued in August, authorized the judiciary to implement the expiration order when the deadline expired. But it has been more than a week, and the department has not gone to court.
The administration argues that Dictok raises national security concerns because the personal data of U.S. users can be obtained by the Chinese government. Dictoc, which has more than 100 million US users, denies the allegation.
Under pressure from the U.S. government, Bite Dance has been in talks for months with Walmart and Oracle to transform Dictok’s US assets into a new company with a view to fulfilling the waiver order.
U.S. District Court Judge Pennsylvania Wendy Beatlestone previously issued an injunction in a case filed by Nichols Byte Dance following a previous injunction restraining the same restrictions from taking effect Nov. 12.
The Beatlestone blocked the App Store ban. A separate appellate court in Philadelphia is set to adjourn until Feb. 11 to hear arguments about its ruling.
The Department of Commerce sought to ban data hosting within the United States for Dictoc, content delivery services, and other technical transactions.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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