Today, the White House announced that President Joe Biden rescinded executive orders issued by his predecessor, Donald Trump, to ban the Chinese-owned mobile phone applications “Tik Tok” and “WeChat”, due to national security concerns..
The White House statement said that instead of banning these two popular apps, the Biden administration would implement a “criteria-based framework and rigorous evidence-based analysis to address risks” from foreign-controlled Internet applications..
Trump had confirmed that the two Chinese-owned apps posed security risks, and had tried to force the sale of Tik Tok to American investors..
The Trump administration’s decision led to a series of legal lawsuits, which delayed the ban or forced sale of the two applications, which increased the level of tension between Washington and Beijing..
There has been no immediate comment from the two companies so far.
In his executive order, Biden referred to an “ongoing state of emergency” to counter “the continuing efforts of foreign adversaries to steal or obtain personal data from the United States.”
The resolution also sought to identify any “connected software applications that may pose an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States and the American people,” including “applications owned, controlled, and operated by persons supporting hostile foreign military or intelligence activities.”
The new order called on the Commerce Department and federal agencies to develop guidelines to “protect sensitive personal data” from misuse.
It is believed that the “Tik Tok” application, owned by the Chinese company “ByteDance”, has about one billion users in the world, including more than 100 million in the United States..
WeChat, which is affiliated with the Chinese technology giant Tencent, includes social networks, messaging, e-commerce tools, and others, and it is one of the popular applications in the world..
Biden’s decision came a day after the US Senate approved a comprehensive industrial policy bill aimed at countering the growing economic threat from China, in addition to pumping more than $170 billion into research and development..
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