Second U.S. judge blocks Commerce restrictions on TikTok

A second U.S. judge late on Monday granted a preliminary injunction blocking the U.S. Commerce Department from imposing restrictions on Chinese-owned short video sharing app TikTok that the company says would have effectively barred its use in the United States.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington issued an order more than a month after another U.S. judge in Pennsylvania blocked the restrictions that were set to take effect on November 12.

Nichols on September 27 blocked the Commerce Department from banning Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google app stores from offering the app for downloads by new users.

Nichols, who was named to the bench by U.S. President Donald Trump last year, said the Commerce Department "likely overstepped" its legal authority in issuing the effective TikTok ban "and acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner by failing to consider obvious alternatives."

Nichols' order enjoins the agency from barring data hosting within the United States for TikTok, content delivery services and other technical transactions.

A U.S. appeals court will hear arguments on Nichols' app store ban injunction on December 14.

(With input from Reuters)