Biden administration asks courts to dismiss government appeals against TikTok decision

WASHINGTON, July 12 (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Monday called on two federal appeals courts to dismiss Justice Department legal challenges to court rulings that in the Trump-era banned new downloads Chinese-owned TikTok video sharing app.

Last month, President Joe Biden withdrew a series of executive orders issued by former President Donald Trump to ban new downloads of WeChat, TikTok and other Chinese apps and ordered a new review.

On June 22, the Commerce Department officially removed a list of prohibited transactions with TikTok, owned by ByteDance, and WeChat, owned by Tencent, released in September, which sought to ban downloading of apps.

The Justice Department said on Monday that the government’s court challenges were now moot. He asked the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the Third Circuit to dismiss his appeals.

Separately, the Justice Department said in a file filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that it had not decided how to proceed in its appeal from a lower court ruling blocking the restrictions on WeChat that the Trump administration had sought to put in place.

The government said it was in talks with lawyers for WeChat users who had filed a complaint “about the appropriate next steps in this appeal.” The government plans to notify the court of its decision by July 26.

During Donald Trump’s presidency, the Commerce Department also sought to ban other transactions that would have effectively banned the use of WeChat in the United States and then called for similar restrictions that would have banned the use of TikTok. The courts have blocked the entry into force of all these restrictions.

The Biden order ordered the Commerce Department to monitor software applications such as TikTok that could affect US national security, as well as make recommendations within 120 days to protect US data acquired or accessed by companies. controlled by foreign adversaries.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told Reuters in an interview on June 28 that the department “is just beginning” its review which will include an “evidence-based” analysis.

“The purpose of the executive order is to take very strict measures to protect Americans’ data from collection and use by foreign adversaries,” Raimondo said.

Biden’s Executive Order also revoked another Trump Executive Order signed in January that targeted eight other communications and fintech software applications.

This Trump order ordered officials to ban transactions with eight Chinese apps, including Ant Group’s Alipay (688688.SS) and Tencent’s QQ Wallet and WeChat. No ban has been issued.

A separate US National Security Review of TikTok, launched in late 2019, remains active.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler, Richard Pullin and Aurora Ellis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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