President Biden Scraps Ban on TikTok, WeChat and Signs New Orders for US Information Security

President Biden Scraps Ban on TikTok, WeChat and Signs New Orders for US Information Security US President Joe Biden lifted the ban on Chinese apps on June 9, 2021 (Source: President Biden/Twitter)

Washington DC: US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order revoking the Trump-era bans on Chinese application TikTok and WeChat and instead signed another executive order (EO) to protect US information technology and communications supply chains from threats that include those from China.

“Today, President Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) to further address the ongoing national emergency declared in E.O. 13873 of May 15, 2019 with respect to the threat posed to the United States’ information and communications technology and services (ICTS) supply chain,” the order read.

“President Biden revoked and replaced three EOs that aimed to prohibit transactions with TikTok, WeChat, and eight other communications and financial technology software applications; two of these EOs are subject to litigation,” it added.

The order takes the place of a series of EOs brought in by former President Trump in 2020, which blocked certain Chinese applications from US app stores and took further measures to prevent them from operating in the US.

A new executive order directs the Commerce Department to undertake what officials describe as an “evidence-based” analysis of transactions involving apps that are manufactured or supplied or controlled by China. Officials are particularly concerned about apps that collect users” persona data or have connections to Chinese military or intelligence activities.

The department also will make recommendations on how to further protect Americans” genetic and personal health information, and will address the risks of certain software apps connected to China or other adversaries, according to senior administration officials.

The Biden administration’s move reflects the ongoing concern that Americans’ personal data could be exposed by popular apps tied to China, a chief US economic and political rival.

The White House and Congress have both taken action to address Beijing’s technological advancement. On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill that aims to boost US semiconductor production and the development of artificial intelligence and other technology in the face of growing international competition.

The Biden administration earlier this week banned 59 Chinese military and surveillance firms from acquiring US investors or investments, expanding an original list of 44 Chinese companies targeted by Trump in a November executive order.

The White House on Tuesday had said it will fight any “unfair foreign competition” that hurts US supply chains, citing China as one of the risks it had to look out for.

Moreover, the US Senate on Tuesday voted to approve a USD 200 billion bill to boost US tech firms to compete against China, prompting an indignant response from Beijing for being cast as an “imaginary” US enemy.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI)

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