Federal judge halts Trump administration effort to ban domestic TikTok downloads

President Donald Trump has made it clear in recent months that he is concerned about potential security risks associated with TikTok, a social media app with ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

When it comes to his order blocking Americans from downloading the popular app, however, a federal judge appointed by the president has placed an injunction on what was described as a likely overreach of executive power, as reported by Politico.

“Continue defending our rights”

District Court Judge Carl Nichols, appointed to the D.C. bench in June 2019, issued the ruling earlier this week.

The Trump administration has signaled its intention to “comply with the injunction” while vowing to keep pursuing the president’s goal as stated in his executive order.

As for TikTok, the company responded to Nichols’ order by asserting that it “will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees.”

In his ruling, the judge concluded that it is “likely” that the administration overstepped its bounds in the nationwide ban and other restrictions Trump placed on the company through his executive action.

As asserted in last month’s order, the president has expressed concerns that “TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and growing and search histories.”

“Bullying and extortion”

Nichols’ ruling came just hours before a ban on downloads nationwide was set to take effect, as reported by CBS News. Ahead of the decision, TikTok attorney John Hall warned of the implications of such a ban.

“If that prohibition goes into effect at midnight, the consequences immediately are grave,” he said. “It would be no different than the government locking the doors to a public forum, roping off that town square” ahead of Election Day.

While the Trump administration has favored a plan to sell a controlling stake of the company to U.S. buyers, an editorial earlier this month in a leading Chinese newspaper dismissed such efforts as “dirty” and “unfair.”

The editorial accused the U.S. government of engaging in “bullying and extortion,” claiming that it aimed to use “national security as the pretext to ban the short video sharing app.”

From the perspective of millions of concerned Americans, however, maintaining the security of sensitive information is more important than uploading videos to yet another social media platform.

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