Biden revokes Trump bans on TikTok, WeChat

Washington, Jun 9 (EFE).- President Joe Biden on Wednesday rescinded the executive orders issued last year by predecessor Donald Trump banning Chinese-owned computer apps TikTok and WeChat from operating in the United States.

The bans, which Trump said were needed because of the danger that the user data collected by TikTok could wind up with the Chinese government, never actually took effect and remain in litigation.

The new order from Biden outlines a different approach to dealing with potential threats to the US information and communications technology and services (ICTS) supply chain.

Instead of bans, the administration is instructing the Commerce Department to use “a criteria-based decision framework and rigorous, evidence-based analysis to address the risks posed by ICTS transactions involving software applications that are designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons that are owned or controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign adversary, including the People’s Republic of China.”

China is among “certain countries” that seek “to leverage digital technologies and Americans’ data in ways that present unacceptable national security risks while advancing authoritarian controls and interests,” the White House said in a statement.

Even before Trump sought to bar TikTok, the parent company, China-based ByteDance, was facing political pressure in the US to sell the app.

The CEO and other top executives of TikTok, which claims to have more than 100 million users in the US, are US citizens residing in the United States.

TikTok’s “data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information – potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage,” Trump said last August in issuing the executive order.

Lawyers for ByteDance said in federal court that the date of US TikTok users is stored in the US and Singapore and segregated through “software barriers that help ensure that TikTok stores its US user data separately from the user data of other ByteDance products.” EFE afs/dr

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