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U.S. appeals judge upholds U.S. ban on TicTac downloads

File photo: This illustration picture taken on November 8, 2019 shows the Tic Tac Toe logo on the smartphone while standing on the US flag. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic /

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government on Thursday filed a lawsuit against a judge who barred new downloads of the Chinese-owned short video sharing app TickTalk.

The Department of Justice said it had appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC circuit.

In late September, a U.S. judge temporarily blocked a Trump administration order to block Apple Inc. AAPL.O. And Google of Alphabet Inc. GOOGL.O From providing new TickTalk downloads.

BitDance, a Chinese company that owns TicTac, has been forced to sell the popular app. The White House has argued that the Chinese government could gain personal data on the 100 million Americans who use the app, and that TicTac faces national security issues. Any agreement is yet to be reviewed by the US Government Foreign Investment Committee (CFIUS).

Negotiations are underway for Walmart Inc. WMT.N And Oracle Corp. ORCL.N To acquire a stake in a new company called Tick Tock Global, which oversees US operations.

But the main terms of the agreement – including who owns the majority – are in dispute. ByteDance said China needed to approve any deal. Beijing has revised its list of technologies subject to an export ban, which would inform any TikTalk deal.

Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis