Saved by the Bell! TikTok will not be blocked in the apps stores, for now ...

Once again the workhorse of the worn-out political relationship between the US and China gives us something to talk about. The truth is that this workhorse has more than 100 million active US users, so the strength of its reception should be an element to consider. What will happen to your target audience? Will Gen Z retaliate in the next election? Without a doubt, the impact of this measure has a greater scope than expected.

Would ordering online stores to remove Tik Tok from their catalog infringe on users' rights to share their content? Arguable. The truth is that this was the argument of the defense of Tik Tok before Judge Carl Nichols of the Court of the District of Columbia of the United States. According to John Hall, lawyer for Tik Tok, blocking the application in the United States would be equivalent to “that the government close the doors to a public forum", he pointed The New York Times.

In the first days of August, the Trump administration issued executive orders to prohibit the continuation of the activity of TikTok and also of the We Chat application. To do this, they would ban app stores run by Google and Apple from continuing to offer such apps on their lists. This impediment should have gone into effect yesterday (Sunday 27), but, given the intervention of Judge Nichols, this will not happen, yet. According to the magistrate, the blocking of the application could be a "quite significant deprivation of the right to due process" that protects TikTok, Held CNN Business.

And what about current users? Because, according to what was previously stated, the measures would only generate impediments for new downloads, but not for users who already have such an application downloaded. However, restrictions on the operation of the application for current users would take effect on the following November 12.

On the other hand, as we pointed out in a previous note, the Trump administration promoted the creation of US-based Tik Tok Global in order to reduce the risk of data breaches or other national security risks. However, the percentage of participation of US companies (Walmart and Oracle) in the shareholding of Tik Tok Global has not yet been clear, thus, it has not been clear who will have the power of control over the application. Similarly, it has not been defined how this new company will address the issue of the security of the data it collects. For all this, Trump indicated that he will not approve the agreement between these companies as long as “Oracle did not have control over TikTok"In other words, Trump will only allow the operation of Tik Tok in the US, as long as US companies have the majority percentage of society (not the 20% initially discussed).

And what is the response of the Asian giant? Initially, when the proposal was based on the acquisition of power by US companies, the Chinese newspaper "Global Times" described this proposal as a "robbery" and as an attempt to "kill the most competitive companies in China”(Also referring to what happened with Huawei), he pointed out Forbes. On the other hand, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Zhao Lijian, said that the US government was “abusing the concept of national security"And urged"stop oppressing foreign companies", he pointed MarketWatch.

Finally, with the elections on the horizon, what will be the effects of this blockade? Will "national security" be enough to convince the millions of users who will be deprived of the popular application? In a few weeks we will know the answers to these questions.

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Marilú Lazo
Lawyer from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP). Director of The Crypto Legal Blog, she has experience in corporate advice, consumer protection, as well as in matters of personal data protection and new technologies.


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