TikTok, a popular video-sharing mobile app owned by a Chinese company, sued the US government on Monday 24-8-20 over President Donald Trump’s efforts to ban the app in the US. The Executive order read:
I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that additional steps must be taken to deal with the national emergency with respect to the information and communications technology and services supply chain declared in Executive Order 13873 of May 15, 2019 (Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain). Specifically, the spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. At this time, action must be taken to address the threat posed by one mobile application in particular, TikTok.
These risks are real. The Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, and the United States Armed Forces have already banned the use of TikTok on Federal Government phones. The Government of India recently banned the use of TikTok and other Chinese mobile applications throughout the country; in a statement, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology asserted that they were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.” American companies and organizations have begun banning TikTok on their devices. The United States must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security.
The lawsuit comes a month after Trump, invoking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), issued an executive order that would effectively ban the operation of TikTok in the US. In the order, Trump stated that TikTok poses a threat to national security because it is owned by a Chinese company (ByteDance Ltd), and it collects vast amounts of data from its users. Trump expressed his concerns that TikTok could give China access to the data it collects from its American users and thus allow China to track federal employees, build dossiers for blackmail, etc. He then gave TikTok 45 days to find a US buyer in order to keep the ban from going into effect.
TikTok challenged the ban on Monday, claiming that the executive order not only violates due process but also misuses the IEEPA by authorizing “the prohibition of activities that have not been found to be ‘an unusual and extraordinary threat,’ as required by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.”
TikTok accused the US government of failing to act in good faith, stating that “[t]he President’s demands for payments have no relationship to any conceivable national security concern and serve only to underscore that Defendants failed to provide Plaintiffs with the due process required by law” To further this argument, TikTok also pointed out that the US government ignored the many security measures it took to alleviate the US government’s concerns, including having the app’s key personnel be Americans and storing the US users’ data in the US and in Singapore.
See the executive order