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Judge again blocks Trump administration push to ban WeChat in the US

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A judge in California has rejected a request from the Department of Justice to reverse a previous decision allowing WeChat to remain active in US app stores. US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler said new evidence the government presented did not change her opinion about the messaging app, owned by Chinese company Tencent app. WeChat will remain active in US app stores for the time being.

“The record does not support the conclusion that the government has ‘narrowly tailored’ the prohibited transactions to protect its national-security interests,” Beeler wrote in her decision. The evidence “supports the conclusion that the restrictions ‘burden substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government’s legitimate interests.’” President Trump issued an executive order in August to ban WeChat, invoking the Emergency Economic Powers Act and the National Emergencies Act.

The administration also sought to ban video sharing app TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, on the same grounds, and President Trump demanded the company be sold. But rather than a sale, a tentative agreement made Oracle TikTok’s trusted technology partner in the US, and created a new entity called TikTok Global. The deal has not yet been finalized. On September 27th, US District Judge Carl Nichols granted a preliminary injunction against a ban on new downloads of TikTok in the US hours before it would have taken effect.

Tencent can collect a “digital facsimile of a person’s life” on WeChat, Justice Department attorney Serena Orloff said at a hearing earlier this month, furthering the administration’s position that Tencent is connected to the Chinese Communist Party.

Beeler’s earlier order blocked the Commerce Department ban of US transactions on WeChat. And while the government claimed it has identified “significant” threats to national security, Beeler did not appear persuaded. She said in her September 20th order that a group of WeChat users calling themselves the WeChat Alliance had demonstrated there were “serious questions” about whether the ban would potentially violate their First Amendment rights.

The group, which is not officially connected to WeChat, said there is no alternative app that can do everything WeChat does, and argued it is the primary way for Chinese speakers in the US to connect with family in China as well as receive information locally. WeChat has some 19 million US users and 1 billion users globally.

The Justice Department has appealed Beeler’s decision to the Ninth Circuit, but a decision is not expected before December.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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