Court Says Trump's Plan To Block TikTok Can't Go Into Effect Yet

from the blocked dept

As we noted late on Friday, even with the weird grifty deal between TikTok and Oracle, Trump's ban on TikTok was scheduled to go into effect last night -- but a court was rushing to review a request by TikTok/Bytedance to put in place a temporary injunction to stop the rules from taking effect.

In an emergency hearing on Sunday morning the judge appeared to be inclined to block the injunction, noting:

This was a unilateral decision with very little opportunity for the plaintiffs to be heard and the result, whether we're talking about November or tonight, is a fairly significant deprivation.

If you don't recall, the block had two stages. The first was supposed to go into effect last night, blocking app stores from any new downloads (including updates) for the software. The second would go into effect on November 12th, and that would block other US services from helping TikTok (no optimization, no CDNs, no peering) as well as any use of TikTok's API.

In a ruling late on Sunday, the judge agreed to a preliminary injunction blocking the rules from going into effect last night, but not issuing one blocking the November rules. However, the reasoning is not known, because it was filed as a sealed memorandum, though both parties have been asked to approve unsealing it perhaps as soon as today.

It seems likely that the reasoning will be at least somewhat similar to the preliminary injunction that blocked the WeChat ban from going into effect: that you can't just magically wave your arms around and scream "national security" to ban entire communications platform from the US -- especially without addressing the 1st Amendment concerns.

The Commerce Department put out a brief statement saying that the Executive Order is "fully consistent with the law" (it isn't) and "promotes legitimate national security interests" (it doesn't). However, it also says it will comply with the injunction, but will "vigorously defend" the E.O. from legal challenges.

On September 27, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted a nationwide preliminary injunction against the implementation of Executive Order (E.O.) 13942, limited to the Secretary of Commerce’s Identification of Prohibited Transactions with TikTok/ByteDance involving ‘any provision of services… to distribute or maintain the TikTok mobile application, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store.’ The E.O. is fully consistent with the law and promotes legitimate national security interests. The Government will comply with the injunction and has taken immediate steps to do so, but intends to vigorously defend the E.O. and the Secretary’s implementation efforts from legal challenges.

In other words, this isn't over yet by a long shot.

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Filed Under: ban, china, commerce department, executive order, injunction, preliminary injunction, wilbur ross
Companies: bytedance, tiktok


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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 28 Sep 2020 @ 9:33am

    There's way more national security concerns in the White House than on TikToc

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    genghis_uk (profile), 28 Sep 2020 @ 10:00am

    Your tax dollars at work USA...

    Now the Government is going to spend $1000s defending an unconstiutional EO with no real basis. Well, other than someone on TikTok said something nasty about the thin skinned man-child that you voted in last time.

    Part of me would like to see Trump royally beaten in November but, as an outside observer, the world will get a lot less funny if Biden wins (sorry!)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 28 Sep 2020 @ 10:06am

      Re:

      If you think Trump is 'funny' I can only say that you have a seriously warped sense of humor. A guy ranting on the street corner that the end is nigh and that the terrible Others are out to get you is funny, the same person doing so from the head of a country most certainly is not funny, that's disturbing and terrifying, as they have the ability to take their bigotry and delusions and turn them into very real consequences for those around them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 30 Sep 2020 @ 7:45am

        Re: Re:

        "If you think Trump is 'funny' I can only say that you have a seriously warped sense of humor."

        Well, there are two ways to look at this; The humanitarian view where people outside the US react in shock and horror at the way that nation is is sliding into the toilet...
        ...but there is always the part where we recall the same shock and horror inflicted on us by GWB and are forced to admit that "At least this president isn't forcing our governments to flush our constitutional laws". Yet.

        I don't think there was any european country which wasn't strong-armed into ignoring or changing the way we handled our civil rights due to the neocons desperately trying to enforce the "hegemony" they aimed for and GWB's "war on terror".
        Even sweden now has in living history having to force two asylum seekers onto a plane headed for the egyptian version of Abu Ghraib. And without any suspicion or charges levied, at that.

        I think everyone wants just and fair government of the USA.
        Since that, though, is apparently something we just can't have quite a few non-americans are willing to be relieved there's at least a US president who seems content to fuck his own people over rather than screws the rest of the world for internal political drum-beating. That may not be "funny" as such, but at least we have cause to be grateful that at least The Donald wants to be a wartime president on his own soil.

        US politics are, frankly speaking, insane. They've become that way because republicans have persistently dismantled or bypassed the democratic process for decades of painstaking, coordinated, hate-driven labor. And done so while most other americans were twiddling their thumbs and going "What, Me worry?"

        I think we all saw it when GWB was elected and Palin's demagoguery became the face of the GOP, but every american content with living in a free country should have realized, since the days of Reagan, that the old USSR and any other foreign threat paled to insignificance given the doom cult the US was brewing at home. It's Plato's old line about those who refuse to engage in politics then being forced to obey those who didn't.

        And I'm not the only european to draw parallels with the development in the US and the evolution of the last days of the Weimar. Another four years of Trump would be fucking terrible. But maybe if he manages to retain his seat and the bubble finally bursts - cue the grand uprising and a possible new civil war - then we may all be spared watching a new Hindenburg hopelessly meander the US right into the place where the next GOP candidate is Hitler v2 rather than the Barnum-esque Putin fan they've got at the moment.

        Because the US liberal movement has overslept. It's not just Trump. It's not a civil disagreement. It's a republican movement on par with what the US had right before the battle of Fort Sumter, driven by religious extremism and racism and spurred by political opportunism. It won't go away and the people currently floating Trump's ship won't sit and quietly simmer because in the end what they want is fuck liberals and go right back to the US of the '50's where men were "real" men, women were in the kitchen, and no one thought twice about calling the black dude a "n_gg_r" and show him his place.

        And they'll have this at any cost. It's a bit naíve this gets fixed or even stalled by democrats gaining the political momentum back. When senators and congressmen start throwing around serious suggestions about having the military go after protestors it's pretty clear any pretense of "good faith" was already out the window.

        Trump is fucking terrible. But he's a sad clown compared to what the GOP will come up with next. At least Mr "Prump" is our best bet for a laugh (albeit sour, dry and dark) over the coming decade of US politics.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 28 Sep 2020 @ 10:16am

      Re:

      the thin skinned man-child that you voted in last time.

      Most of us didn't, you know.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 28 Sep 2020 @ 10:30am

      the thin skinned man-child that you voted in last time

      FYI: Trump lost the popular vote by about three million votes. He didn’t have a majority of Americans on his side — only enough Americans in enough states to ensure an Electoral College victory. I didn’t vote him in, and I sure as shit want his ass voted out, so maybe stop lumping together the people who voted to stop Trump and the people who voted that ratfucking bastard into power.

      the world will get a lot less funny if Biden wins

      Good. I’ll take “less funny to people outside the U.S. who aren’t directly affected by the nationalist authoritarian, his open fascism, and the enablers of that fascism” over “more funny to people outside the U.S. who apparently enjoy watching the death and suffering of Americans because of an incompetent leader and his ass-kissing henchmen in Congress” any day of the fucking week. (And if you’re not taking pleasure in the suffering of Americans because of Trump’s incompetence and Republican cowardice, you might want to say so.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 28 Sep 2020 @ 12:23pm

        Re:

        I remember Jon Stewart closing The Daily Show, the night before the 2004 election, by saying, "It's my job to make fun of whoever wins tomorrow. Please, make my job harder."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2020 @ 2:13pm

        Re:

        Well, Biden would be plenty hilarious, just less of the cheaper and more dangerous sorts of comedy.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 30 Sep 2020 @ 8:02am

        Re:

        I have to correct you on a few points;

        "...He didn’t have a majority of Americans on his side — only enough Americans in enough states to ensure an Electoral College victory..."

        I'd argue that at this stage - and even as demonstrated by GWB earlier on - it's a complete non-issue who actually voted for whom. The only thing that matters is that republicans have tried to dismantle US democracy for a long, long time. And have succeeded.
        As the previous generation of liberals felt compelled to keep attempting a dialogue with the opposition which had abandoned any semblance of good faith or the trappings of civilization decades ago, the current system is now prepped to guarantee democracy can be set aside. The constitution, with a republican supermajority in SCOTUS, no longer applies.

        "I’ll take “less funny to people outside the U.S. who aren’t directly affected by the nationalist authoritarian, his open fascism, and the enablers of that fascism”..."

        I think most people do - inside or outside the US. But bear in mind that most of us still remember - vividly - the way GWB and his neocons did to the rest of the world with his "War on Terror" what Trump now does to his own people. We outside the US can't do jack shit about either case until at some point Trump's eventual GOP successor crows "Today, America, tomorrow, ze world!". You may have to forgive a certain amount of bitterness coming from abroad.

        As I stated in an earlier comment, Mr. "Prump" may just be the last laugh we can get out of US politics for the foreseeable future, dark and dry though it may be. I'm pretty sure Hindenburg...I mean, Biden will be a lot of things if he's elected, but the odds are fair all he'll be good for is inheriting the net effects of the harm Trump has done and spend his time staving off the collapse until next election again when the GOP can present a genuine strongman to "get shit done".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      genghis_uk (profile), 29 Sep 2020 @ 3:57am

      Re:

      Apologies to my US friends.
      Given that you have to live with the results of Trump's idiocracy, my comment was in poor taste. It has been a very odd 4 years though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 29 Sep 2020 @ 8:48am

        Re: Re:

        idiocracy

        I wish.

        In Idiocracy, they had a president who, when faced with a problem, sought out the smartest man in the world and then listened to his advice.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Sep 2020 @ 4:52am

        Apology accepted, and I apologize myself for any hostility towards you on my part. I know you’re not to blame for all the shit Americans have suffered through under Trump. But all the same, essentially saying that you want Trump to stay in office because his being president is funnier to you is…well, “in poor taste” is the nicest way of putting it, yes.

        We’ll need at least a decade, if not more, to undo the catastrophic damage he has done to the credibility of the U.S. on the global stage, the credibility of U.S. institutions that people trust for live-saving information (e.g., the CDC), the institution of the presidency itself, and American politics in general. And that’s still not counting all the policies he could’ve passed during his time in office that would’ve helped more than his gullible voter base and his grifter allies/henchmen. (Think “doing something about climate change” or “having an actual national response to COVID-19”.) Four years of Trump has damaged the U.S. to an absurd degree. Another four years might actually destroy the country.

        “[W]hen fascism comes it will not be in the form of an anti-American movement or pro-Hitler bund, practicing disloyalty. Nor will it come in the form of a crusade against war. It will appear rather in the luminous robes of flaming patriotism; it will take some genuinely indigenous shape and color, and it will spread only because its leaders, who are not yet visible, will know how to locate the great springs of public opinion and desire and the streams of thought that flow from them and will know how to attract to their banners leaders who can command the support of the controlling minorities in American public life. The danger lies not so much in the would-be Fuhrers who may arise, but in the presence in our midst of certainly deeply running currents of hope and appetite and opinion. The war upon fascism must be begun there.” — from As We Go Marching by John Thomas Flynn

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 30 Sep 2020 @ 8:31am

          Re:

          "We’ll need at least a decade, if not more, to undo the catastrophic damage he has done to the credibility of the U.S. on the global stage, the credibility of U.S. institutions that people trust for live-saving information (e.g., the CDC), the institution of the presidency itself, and American politics in general."

          It's not just Trump. McConnel, to name one example, has been quietly replacing judges on benches for his whole career while blocking democrat attempts to fill courts, and bears most of the blame for SCOTUS now holding - because they will - a 6-3 republican supermajority for the next 30-40 years or so. Effectively the constitution has been suspended for that time, wherever it does not clearly serve the current goals of the GOP.

          "The danger lies not so much in the would-be Fuhrers who may arise, but in the presence in our midst of certainly deeply running currents of hope and appetite and opinion...."

          Flynn is on the money with that sentence but the context makes it an ironically bad choice to use against Trump whose "America First" doctrine of isolationism would be music to Flynn's ears. He always strikes me as that guy who saw a lot of the coming dangers and still somehow managed to consistently stand on the side of the people most likely and willing to bring that danger into reality.

          If democrats manage to take and hold the oval office and both houses, for a consecutive eight years that still won't even shake the legacy of the GOP - and there's no indication that they'll sit quietly while the democrats do. Fact is, american liberals are only now slowly realizing that republicans, since the days of Reagan, don't see politics so much as they see a holy war to finally end all opposition to their "One (white!) nation under God" doctrine.

          The only way you get to "undo" that damage is by somehow removing the toxic culture subscribed to by the americans who truly believe that faith trumps science, that poor people themselves are to blame for being poor, that using public funds for the public good is somehow evil, and that a woman's place is in the kitchen and her body only conditionally her own.

          To borrow a phrase from history, you are a nation divided against itself. One side of which is, like in that former conflict, impossible to sway with arguments, and has been steadily working for decades with the full intent to ensure that democracy passes from US soil as soon as possible.

          And they've won. Fixing it by slapping a few thousand band-aids on top won't work. I don't think anything short of a full rebuild will.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 28 Sep 2020 @ 10:01am

    Refreshing moments of sanity

    Always nice to see a judge not fall for the 'national security' trick and refuse to just grant any order or give approval to any action so long as a government agency adds in those two magic words, though it would be even better if that became the norm rather than the exception.

    As for the order itself, yeah... as a blatant violation of power by Trump and even more obvious grift/PR stunt this absolutely deserved to be slapped down and blocked, so nice of the judge to give it the treatment it deserved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chris-Mouse (profile), 28 Sep 2020 @ 10:37am

    What are the chances that all of this will be dropped Nov 4th? If Trump loses, he won't be in any position to keep pushing for it. If Trump wins, he won't need it as a distraction anymore, so will quietly forget about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 28 Sep 2020 @ 12:24pm

      Re:

      If Trump wins, he won't need it as a distraction anymore, so will quietly forget about it.

      You may be underestimating the extent to which he is motivated by xenophobia and spite.

      And second term or no, he's always going to need a distraction.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2020 @ 10:57am

    Judge: What are you doing?
    Admin: Robbing a Mom & Pop store.
    Judge: Why are you robbing a Mom & Pop store?
    Admin: Its for national security.
    Judge: What do you mean by "for national security"? What does robbing someone have to do with national security?
    Admin: If you don't let us rob them, we'll purposefully make national security worse.

    • I know that strong-arming a foreign company isn't exactly the same as robbing a Mom & Pop store, but because so many of the apologists for the current admin need things simplified, this hopefully shows just how wrong they SHOULD consider it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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