President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday to revoke the Trump-era ban on TikTok and WeChat. In lieu of the Trump order, Biden will order the Secretary of Commerce to investigate apps with ties to foreign adversaries that could pose a risk to U.S. data privacy or national security.
The order replaces a series of executive orders issued by President Trump last year that blocked apps such as TikTok, WeChat and Alipay from US app stores and took further steps to prevent them from operating in the US. The most extreme effects of those injunctions were prevented by ongoing legal proceedings, but Wednesday’s injunction will completely repeal the injunctions. Instead, Biden’s order will create a new framework for determining the national security risks of transactions involving apps affiliated with the governments or militaries of foreign adversaries, such as China, or that collect sensitive data from US consumers.
TikTok and WeChat did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The edge.
“The government 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 government official said on Wednesday.
“The challenge we are addressing with this EO is that certain countries, including China, do not share these obligations or values and are instead working to use digital technologies and U.S. data in ways that pose unacceptable national security risks,” he continued. the officer. .
Wednesday’s order calls on the Department of Commerce and other federal agencies to work together to formulate recommendations to protect against the collection, sale and transfer of sensitive U.S. consumer data to foreign adversaries. The Department of Commerce is then expected to make recommendations for future implementation actions or legislation to address these concerns.
However, the order does not address actions or investigations undertaken by the United States Committee on Foreign Investment or CFIUS. Under the Trump administration, CFIUS has set several deadlines for apps like TikTok to get rid of Chinese owner ByteDance. It was reported that Oracle would buy TikTok for several months to avoid the former government’s ban, though the deal never came to fruition.
“The action of the CFIUS is still under active discussion by the US government,” a senior administration official said on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s order is just the latest step from the Biden administration to address China’s challenges. Last week, Biden signed a separate injunction extending a Trump-era ban on US investment in Chinese companies with alleged ties to the Chinese military. The order barred 59 companies from investment, including those that create and deploy surveillance technology used against Muslim minorities and government dissidents in Hong Kong.
A senior government official said on Wednesday he expected additional action against China if Biden makes his first trip to the office to meet the leaders of the Group of 7 Nations, NATO and the European Union.