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Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A federal judge early on Sunday temporarily blocked a Trump administration order banning downloads of the Chinese-owned global messaging app WeChat.

Why it matters: The temporary injunction means WeChat will remain on Apple's and Google's app stores, despite a Commerce Department order to remove the app by Sunday evening.

  • The move also blocks Commerce from prohibiting other transitions with WeChat in the U.S. that may have affected the site's usability for millions who use the app in the country.

What she's saying: WeChat users who filed a lawsuit “have shown serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim, the balance of hardships tips in the plaintiffs’ favor," U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in San Francisco wrote.

  • “[W]hile the general evidence about the threat to national security related to China (regarding technology and mobile technology) is considerable, the specific evidence about WeChat is modest," Beeler said.
  • "[T]he regulation — which eliminates a channel of communication without any apparent substitutes — burdens substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government’s significant interest. This affects the assessment of the public interest."

Context: The Commerce Department on Friday issued the order on national security grounds.

  • The Justice Department argued that blocking the order would "frustrate and displace the president’s determination of how best to address threats to national security," per Reuters.
  • The Commerce Department delayed a similar ban on Chinese-owned TikTok after President Trump said on Saturday he approved "in concept" a deal whereby TikTok will be allowed to continue operating in the U.S., with Oracle as its "trusted technology partner."
  • The Trump administration did not immediately comment on Sunday's injunction.

Go deeper

Dec 22, 2020 - World

Scoop: DHS to issue China data security warning to U.S. businesses

Photo: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security is set to issue an advisory to U.S. businesses, warning them of data security risks associated with using communications equipment and services from China-linked companies.

The big picture: The advisory comes as the Trump administration makes a final push on China, highlighting the administration's emphasis on the risks posed by the close relationship between some Chinese companies and the Chinese government.

Pew: Over 80% of Asian adults say violence against them is increasing

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

More than 80% of Asian adults say that violence against them is increasing, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

The big picture: The survey, conducted April 5-11, comes after the recent shootings in Atlanta in which eight people, including six Asian women were killed, as well as a yearlong spike in hate incidents against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.

Danger lurks in the Democrats' police talk

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats celebrate last June after they passed the George Floyd Policing Act. Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty Images

As Congress forges ahead with police reform legislation, Democratic operatives are warning lawmakers to steer clear of any defund-the-police rhetoric since it could hurt them in the midterms.

Why it matters: President Biden and his fellow Democrats say Congress needs to pass the George Floyd Policing Act, which would ban chokeholds, prohibit no-knock warrants and generally make it easier to hold officers accountable for misconduct.