TikTok Sues US Government
On Monday, TikTok sued the US government over ban which will prevent the app from operating in the country. The suit was filed in Federal District Court of California and accused the Trump administration of depriving the app of its due process.
US President Trump had used his emergency economic powers to issue twin executive orders banning transactions with TikTok and WeChat over concerns that these apps pose a threat to national security because of their Chinese ties. TikTok in its suit has mentioned that the company did not have a choice but to sue the government to protect the rights of the community and the employees. The company also said “more than 1500 employees across the US pour their hearts into building this platform every day” and mentioned that it had planned to hire more than 10,000 workers across eight states in the coming years.
The executive order against TikTok draws legal authority from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act which allows the President to regulate economic transactions at the time of a national emergency. Previous administrations have also used it but never against a global technology company.
In a blog post TikTok has explained the grounds for its lawsuit and said that the Trump administration has not provided any evidence regarding threat to national security. TikTok has also alleged that the national security threat identified by the Committee of Foreign Investments in the United States is based on ‘outdated news articles’.
Addressing one of the chief concerns of the Trump Administration over storage of American data on foreign servers, TikTok in its complaint has made it clear that in order to protect the privacy and security of TikTok’s US user data, users’ data has been stored outside China on servers in United States and Singapore. Addressing other security concerns, the company has mentioned that all of its top personnel- chief executive, general counsel, and global chief security officer were in the US and thus were not subject to Chinese law.
Trump’s move to ban WeChat, an app used widely by people of Chinese descent in United States might also face legal challenges as a non-profit group WeChat Users Alliance has filed a separate suit in a Federal Court in San Francisco saying that the attempt to ban the social media app violates constitutional protections such as the First Amendment.