TikTok files lawsuit against the U.S. government

TikTok says Trump's order violates due process and exceeds the scope of sanction rules

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President Donald Trump signed an executive order on August 6 that would ban the TikTok app from the U.S by mid-September. TikTok has now officially filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, saying the order violates due process and exceeds the scope of sanction rules.

Originally the ban on TikTok was to start this September but Trump has extended it until November 12, giving more time for ByteDance to sell their business to an American company.

TikTok argue in the suit that Trump’s order was a misuse of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act because the platform – on which users share often playful short-form videos – is not “an unusual and extraordinary threat”.

“…the actions directed in the August 6 executive order are not supported by the emergency declared a year earlier in Executive Order 13873.   

“That previous executive order was designed to address asserted U.S. national security concerns about certain telecommunications companies’ ability to abuse access to ‘information and communications technology and services’ that ‘store and communicate vast amounts of sensitive information, facilitate the digital economy, and support critical infrastructure and vital emergency services, in order to commit malicious cyber-enabled actions, including economic and industrial espionage against the United States and its people.’

“TikTok Inc. is not a telecommunications provider and it does not provide the types of technology and services contemplated by the 2019 executive order. Specifically, TikTok Inc. does not provide the hardware backbone to ‘facilitate the digital economy,’ and TikTok Inc. has no role in providing ‘critical infrastructure and vital emergency services.'”

TikTok argues that the US Administration ignored the great lengths that TikTok has gone to in order to demonstrate our commitment to serving the US market:

“The key personnel responsible for TikTok, including its CEO, Global Chief Security Officer, and General Counsel, are all Americans based in the United States—and therefore are not subject to Chinese law. U.S. content moderation is likewise led by a U.S.-based team and operates independently from China, and, as noted above, the TikTok application stores U.S. user data on servers located in the United States and Singapore.”

Microsoft and Oracle are possible suitors for TikTok operations. Reports have said Oracle was weighing a bid for TikTok’s operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

TikTok decried Trump’s expressed interest in the US getting a share of any sale price because of its role in making it happen.

The president said last week the eventual buyer would have to “make sure the United States is well compensated”.

“The President’s demands for payments have no relationship to any conceivable national security concern,” TikTok said in the suit.

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