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US government appeals judge’s decision to block WeChat app store ban

WeChat Ban

WeChat Ban:  On Friday, The US Justice Department said it was appealing the judge’s decision to block the government from preventing  Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc’s Google from offering Chinese owned WeChat for download in US app stores.

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The government said it was petitioning the September 19 preliminary junction issued by US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. The junction blocked the US Commerce Department order, which would also ban the further US transactions with the Tencent-owned WeChat app, which would make the app unusable in the country.

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A US spokesman for the Tencent didn’t comment immediately.

Error in judge decision?

Earlier, The US Justice Department said that Beeler’s order was in error and permits the continued, free use of WeChat, a mobile application which the Executive department considered a threat to national security and foreign policy of the United States.

No evidence of security threats

Meanwhile, on Friday, the lawyers of WeChat ban users alliance, a group that challenged the WeChat ban legally said that the department has still not presented any evidence that suggests the app is a threat to national security and to justify such outstanding ban.

The group also noted that Tencent tried to negotiate with the Commerce Department and offered a number of mitigation measures to address the data security concerns.

Beeler said WeChat users has shown serious question going to the merits of First Amendment claim. The US constitution First Amendment gives a guarantee of freedom of speech.

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WeChat Ban
WeChat Ban

WeChat has a big base of daily active users

According to analytics released by Apptopia in early August, WeChat has an average of 19 million daily active users in the United States. The app is popular among Chinese students, Americans living in China, and some Americans who have personal or business relationships in China.

WeChat is an all-in-one mobile application that combines all the services similar to Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. The app is an essential part of daily life in China and some in the US also and boasts 1 billion users.

Decision on TikTok

US District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington issued a similar preliminary injunction on Sunday to stop the US app store ban on new TikTok downloads. However, Nichols didn’t decide to block other restrictions that going to take place from November 12 on TikTok that could effectively ban the app use. The case is pending and the next hearing is by October 30.

 

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