In the filing at the District Court of the District of Columbia, TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, said the latest restrictions – after a judge blocked last month’s proposed ban on new downloads of the app in the United States – were “unlawful and unconstitutional”.
The November ban is the second phase of proposed restrictions by the US Department of Commerce that would prohibit American companies from doing business with the app. The first phase, which would have prohibited new downloads in the US starting on September 27 but would have allowed existing users to keep it, was halted when Judge Carl Nichols of Washington issued a temporary injunction in favour of the app.
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TikTok urged Judge Nichols to prevent the ban beginning on November 12, arguing that it would cause “irreparable harm” to the company. Lawyers argued the restrictions “would completely shut down TikTok in the US” even if they were later lifted.
In the September ruling, Judge Nichols said ByteDance would probably succeed in proving the US government had overstepped its authority in invoking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), a national declaration intended to be triggered by unusual and extraordinary threats to the country. The administration had also probably violated constitutional free speech protections, he said.
In Wednesday’s filings, TikTok argued largely the same points, including that the November 12 ban violated the IEEPA and the First Amendment of the constitution.
The IEEPA, TikTok said, “does not include the authority to regulate or prohibit, directly or indirectly, any personal communication”.
The remaining prohibitions also violated TikTok’s constitutional rights by not allowing the company due process, it said.
In an August 6 executive order, US President Donald Trump said TikTok and WeChat, the Chinese messaging app owned by Tencent, were national security threats because the companies could be required to turn over users’ personal data to the Chinese government. Both companies have denied the claim. The executive order set in motion the proposed bans, to take effect in two phases.
ByteDance sued Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the commerce department on August 24, saying the US had offered insufficient evidence to support the claim that it posed a security threat.
After Nichols’ ruling, the commerce department backed Trump’s executive order, saying that, although it would comply with the court order to delay the first ban, it intended to “vigorously defend” it. “The [executive order] is fully consistent with the law and promotes legitimate national security interests,” it said in a statement.
The US government has appealed to overturn the temporary injunction. Judge Nichols will decide on November 2 whether allow ByteDance to continue to operate in the US.
ByteDance has sought approval of its deal to sell its US operations to Oracle and Walmart. The sale process was triggered by a separate executive order Trump announced on August 14, requesting ByteDance to sell TikTok’s US operations to an American buyer for national security reasons.
Discussions of the sale have stalled and are likely to be delayed until after the November 3 presidential election, according to news reports.
More from South China Morning Post:
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This article TikTok asks judge to halt November ban in US, citing ‘irreparable harm’ first appeared on South China Morning Post