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Judge temporarily blocks ban of Communist-owned TikTok app

A federal district judge has temporarily blocked the ban on Chinese Communist Party-owned TikTok. The injunction allows the app to remain available for download from U.S. app stores.

U.S. intelligence services say the video service is a security risk because the personal information of its millions of U.S. users could be handed over to Chinese authorities. It has already been banned from being installed on government-owned phones.

The Trump administration’s ban of TikTok updates and downloads in the United States was set to take effect at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday as its owner ByteDance continues negotiations with U.S. companies Oracle and Walmart over a potential sale of U.S. operations.

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However, further restrictions outlined by the Commerce Department for the popular video-sharing app—if the security of Americans’ data cannot be guaranteed—have not “at this time” been blocked, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington said in his ruling.

President Trump in an August executive order (pdf) outlined Nov. 12 as the deadline for current app owner Bytedance to divest its U.S. assets, or see TikTok shutdown in the United States.

The Commerce Department responded to the ruling Sunday saying that it would comply with the ruling but would continue to defend the executive order from “legal challenges” given that the president’s executive order is “fully consistent with the law and promotes legitimate national security interests.”

–Wire services