Biden revokes Trump bans on TikTok and WeChat

But apps still aren’t out of hot water

President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order repealing a Trump-era ban on TikTok and WeChat. In place of Trump’s order, Biden will direct the Commerce Secretary to investigate apps with links to foreign adversaries that could pose a risk to US data privacy or national security.

The order replaces a series of executive orders instituted by President Trump last year, which blocked apps like TikTok, WeChat and Alipay from the US App Store and took further measures to prevent them from operating in the US. The most extreme effects of those orders were stymied by ongoing court challenges, but Wednesday’s order will nullify the orders outright. Instead, Biden’s order would establish a new framework for determining the national security risks of transactions, which include apps that link to the governments or military of foreign adversaries such as China, or collect sensitive data from US consumers. Huh.

TikTok and WeChat did not immediately respond to a request for comment ledge.

“The administration is committed to promoting an open, interoperable, reliable and secure Internet and protecting human rights online and offline and supporting a vibrant global digital economy,” a senior administration official said on Wednesday.

“The challenge we are facing with this EO is that some countries, including China, do not share these commitments or values ​​and are instead working to leverage digital technologies and US data to create an unacceptable present a national security risk,” the official continued. .

Wednesday’s order calls on the Commerce Department and other federal agencies to work together to prepare recommendations to protect foreign adversaries from the collection, sale and transfer of sensitive US consumer data. The Commerce Department is expected to make recommendations for future executive actions or legislation to address these concerns.

Nevertheless, the order does not address action taken or investigations by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS. Under the Trump administration, CFIUS set several deadlines for apps like TikTok to separate itself from its Chinese owner ByteDance. For several months, Oracle was reportedly willing to buy TikTok to overcome the former administration’s ban, although the deal never came to fruition.

“Active discussions on the CFIUS action by the US government are ongoing,” a senior administration official said on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s order is the Biden administration’s latest move to address the challenges posed by China. Last week, Biden signed a separate order detailing a Trump-era ban on US investments in Chinese companies with alleged ties to China’s military. The order barred 59 companies from investing, including companies developing and deploying surveillance technology used against Muslim minorities and government dissidents in Hong Kong.

A senior administration official said on Wednesday that Biden expects additional action against China. makes his first visit to the office To meet the leaders of the Group of 7 countries, NATO and the European Union.

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