The Trump administration attempted to ban the short-form video app from U.S. mobile app stores and cut it off from vital technical facilities. TikTok sued, alleging that such acts would violate free expression and the due process rights.
Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., said in a ruling Monday that the Department of Commerce “probably overstepped” the use of presidential emergency powers “and acted in an arbitrary and capricious way by failing to consider obvious alternatives.”
As the court cases continue, Nichols is the second federal judge to block the Trump administration’s economic sanctions against the app entirely.
The Trump administration has claimed that TikTok is a security threat because the Chinese government could spy on the personal data of app users. TikTok has denied that it is a security threat, but said that it is still trying to work to address its issues with the administration.
The Trump former administration’s aggressive tactics are part of its latest attempt to counter the influence of China. Since taking office in 2017, Trump has waged a trade war with China, blocked mergers involving Chinese companies and stifled the business of Chinese firms like Huawei, a maker of phones and telecom equipment.
Though TikTok is a problem, President Joe Biden has said it is not clear what his administration will take on the ongoing attempts by the previous Trump administration to obtain a ban or increase U.S. business participation.