Former president Donald Trump’s executive order that attempted to ban Chinese video app TikTok has been replaced by the Biden administration, which has implemented its own executive orders to review several Chinese apps for possible national security and privacy risks.
President Joe Biden’s executive order directs the Commerce Department to analyze TikTok, WeChat and other Chinese apps to see if they collect personal data or if they are connected to the Chinese military.
According to a White House statement about the order, Commerce, in consultation with other federal agencies, can “make recommendations to protect against harm from the sale, transfer of, or access to sensitive personal data, including personally identifiable information and genetic information — to include large data repositories — to persons owned or controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of, foreign adversaries.”
“The administration is committed to promoting an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure internet and to protecting human rights online and offline, and to supporting a vibrant global digital economy,” a senior administration official said Wednesday, according to The Verge, which first reported the story.
“The challenge that we’re addressing with this [executive order] is that certain countries, including China, do not share these commitments or values and are instead working to leverage digital technologies and American data in ways that present unacceptable national security risks,” the official added.
Trump’s efforts to ban TikTok in the summer of 2020 were blocked by the courts, and the issue was soon overshadowed by the 2020 presidential election.
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Discussions that a U.S. company might take over TikTok operations in the U.S. never resulted in concrete action.
Last week, the Biden administration expanded a Trump-era ban on American companies investing in Chinese firms with ties to the Chinese military. The order lists 59 Chinese companies that reportedly develop surveillance technology to be used against Muslim minorities and pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong.