A federal court in Washington is supposed to prevent Tiktoks from being kicked out of the app store on Sunday. Bytedance and Tiktok had applied for temporary legal protection on Friday.
On Friday afternoon, the US Department of Commerce had a disposition enacted that stipulates that Tiktok may no longer be offered as a download in the USA from next Sunday. This means that anyone who installs the app until Saturday can continue to use Tiktok for the time being. However, there will be no more new users from Sunday.
Tiktok files a complaint
On the same evening, parent company Bytedance and US subsidiary Tiktok Inc. filed a complaint against the order in a federal court in Washington. A previously filed complaint in California, the company withdrew at the same time.
Bytedance and Tiktok dispute the legality of the U.S. government’s order. This was by no means issued for reasons of national security. Rather, it is a purely politically motivated ban, so the companies in their complaint.
Last but not least, the ban violates fundamental constitutional rights, including the first amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits the passing of laws that restrict freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly or the right to petition. This prohibition should apply to all state action, including government decrees. It remains to be seen whether the court will see it that way.
Trump is “destroying an online community of millions of Americans” and “ignoring evidence” that Tiktok is “committed to the privacy and security of its American users”. The chances of success of Tiktok are assessed by legal experts as rather low. Courts are generally reluctant to interfere on national security issues, Berkeley University Director of Law James Dempsey told Bloomberg.
Grace period until November 12th
After all, the order of the Tiktok Ministry of Economics leaves a deadline of November 12th before the next escalation of the restrictions takes effect. As of November 12, telecommunications providers in the USA will no longer be allowed to pass Tiktok data through. That would be the end of the service. Until then, Tiktok now has time to convince the US government that the data of American users is adequately protected.
The Ministry of Economics has not granted this grace period to the second app concerned, Wechat from the Chinese tech company Tencent. Wechat will stop working in the US as of Sunday.
Video: Austria tightens corona measures (Reuters)
Click for more videos