Proponents of Tic Tac Toe argued during the dial-in hearing Sunday morning that the Trump administration’s ban was “destructive” and asked the judge to stay it until the entire case is decided. At 11:59 PM ET today, a ban on TikTalk’s new downloads from Apple and Google’s app stores was essentially “closing the speech”, TikTalk’s lawyer said. Public prosecutors have argued that the first-amendment arguments made by Tick Tack do not apply because the Trump administration views the application as a national security risk.
On August 6, President Trump issued an order regarding security issues regarding Tic Tac Toe and Wechat, two applications from China setting up a national emergency. He initiated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which allows transactions between the US and foreign companies to be banned.
On August 14, President Trump issued 90-day orders to Bite Dance to sell or discontinue its TicTac business in the United States. That order goes into effect on November 12 and effectively terminates the app’s operations.
On Sept. 18, the Commerce Department issued orders from Sept. 20 to prevent transactions with both ByteDance and WeChat, the parent company of TicTac.
But on September 19, a provisional agreement was announced that would create a new US-based company called Tic Tac Toe Global, which is in the process of processing and storing all US-based Tic Tac customers. Oracle will be TicTac’s trusted security partner under the terms of this agreement. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is late Prohibition until 11:59 PM on September 27th.
John Hall, a TicTac lawyer, argued Sunday that the app store ban was “arbitrary and capricious.” The company said the August 6 order would not apply as IEEPA excludes information and communication technologies.
“It’s one of the fastest growing apps in the world, and those new customers are the lifeblood of this business, which is true on any social media platform,” Hall said. “If it disappears from the app store, its impact will be devastating to users, content, creators and damage its reputation with advertisers.”
U.S. government attorneys argue that blocking new users into the app allows the Department of Commerce to address the most serious national security risks. Such a ban would prevent existing users from receiving new security updates to the app.
U.S. District Judge Carl Nicholas said he plans to issue a decision publicly before 11:59 a.m. on the case, but will issue his opinion under seal, so both sides can review it if any sensitive information needs to be reconstructed.
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