Biden, however, is tasking his administration with preparing recommendations to prevent a foreign adversary like China from confiscating consumer data from apps like TikTok or WeChat.
President Biden is revoking Trump administration executive orders that tried to ban TikTok and WeChat in the US.
Instead, Biden is calling for his own review of the risks of foreign-controlled mobile apps transferring data to US opponents. This could include signing future executive orders to protect US personal data from falling into the wrong hands.
Biden made the decision Wednesday in his own executive order, which stresses the need to protect Americans’ personal data from foreign threats.
The order does not explain why Biden is scrapping Trump’s earlier attempt to ban TikTok and WeChat, two apps made by Chinese companies. But it’s no secret that Trump’s executive orders ended an attempt to stall the courts amid concerns about violating free speech rights. Meanwhile, both TikTok and WeChat remained online in the US.
That said, Biden orders the federal government to evaluate security threats “through rigorous, evidence-based analysis” while preserving and demonstrating “America’s core values and fundamental freedoms.”
In contrast, the Trump administration declared that both TikTok and WeChat represent national security threats. The main concern is that the Chinese government will covertly force the apps to hand over data on millions of Americans for cyber espionage purposes. However, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance had rubbished the apprehensions, which had no evidence.
The Biden review is calling on the heads of various federal agencies to make recommendations on the potential threat within the next four and six months.
Despite rescinding earlier orders, Biden is upholding Trump’s 2019 executive order that empowers the government to restrict sales of technology that pose an “unacceptable risk” to America’s national security. The 2019 order comes after the Trump administration began crippling Chinese company Huawei’s access to the US supply chain.
Like Trump, Biden is calling on his commerce secretary to use authority to stop any commercial transactions that could undermine America.