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The judge says she will not allow WeChat to be banned while the case continues

Illustration for article titled WeChat is unlikely to be banned as the legal battle continues, the judge states on

photo:: Lionel Bonaventure (Getty Images)

A federal judge in San Francisco said the Justice Department still has no shit to convince them the Trump administration can push for a ban on new downloads of the Chinese messaging app WeChat while court battles are taking place. per the Verge.

For the past few months the White House has been trying to enforce orders essentially ban US companies don’t partner with WeChat and require ByteDance of Beijing to sell the popular TikTok social media app to a US company or impose similar penalties. In both cases, the Trump administration quoted unproven claims a significant security risk to the US claiming the authority to act under the Emergency Economic Powers Act and the National Emergencies Act. At the same time, White House made it clear his main motive was Red scare style political stance against the Chinese tech industry Cybersecurity and Censorship concerns as little more than a pretext.

Neither of the two bans went into effect as threatened in September. TikTok stays free to download in the middle of the White House continued efforts too strong-Arm ByteDance in a messy place deal with Oraclewho enjoys a cozy political relationship with Trump. The The WeChat order banned all “transactions” between US citizens and the app without ever bothering to define them what that meant. The US WeChat Users Alliance, a nonprofit that represents businesses and individuals who rely on the app to keep in touch with partners, relatives, and friends overseas and says the command is designed to discriminate against Chinese Americans, has won an injunctionn in September. US judge Laurel Beeler ruled the government had not bring forth a legitimate explanation on how the supposed national security risk outweighed the mass censorship of WeChat users and “provided little evidence that the effective ban on WeChat for all US users primarily addresses these concerns”. Beeler was not influenced by further arguments of the DOJ on Thursday, wrote the Verge.

The US government is considering WeChat’s owner, TencThis is a security risk because the app can capture a “digital facsimile of a person’s life” and possibly pass it on to the Chinese government, argued DOJ attorney Serena Orloff on Thursday. The DOJ also argued that the 19 million WeChat users in the US could simply download another app.

Per Court newsOrloff added, “It is completely predictable that the [People’s Republic of China] will use Tencent’s data to collect more information on American users. Even if Tencent were not asked to transfer data to the PRC, it would be extremely easy to intercept the data flowing through WeChat as it is not end-to-end encrypted. “

“This is the only case I know of an entire voice platform shutting down completely,” Beeler replied. She also questioned the DOJ’s logic, noting that “the plaintiff’s case found that WeChat was effectively the only resource for people in the community, also because China bans other apps.”

Orloff partially replied, “The fact that there is no alternative for human communication in China is a sad and unfortunate fact, but it cannot be attributed to the fault of this government.”

Beeler didn’t have it.

“The activity on this platform is different from illegal activity,” Beeler replied, according to Courthouse News. “This is not a silk road. It’s a platform that risk conscious users choose because it’s the only thing they can. “

Beeler’s comments on Thursday do not constitute a decision on the DOJ’s appeal to overturn the injunction, but they are a very strong indication that WeChat will remain accessible to US users until longer court battles are fought. The separate issue of the TikTok sale remains pending, and the president is only issuing a preliminary “blessing”.“The commercial department entity that regulates foreign business, the committee on foreign investment in the USA has until November 12th approve an Oracle bid.

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