US President Joe Biden has dropped Trump’s executive orders that sought to ban WeChat and TikTok after labeling them as a national security risk.
The Biden administration on Wednesday signed a new executive order revoking the ban. Instead, Biden has directed the Commerce Department to investigate the apps and the security concerns they pose including the security concerns posed by those apps and others risk to American data privacy.
The last two years of the Trump administration have been fixated on banning any company with alleged Chinese Communist Party links. Huawei has been the most troubled. TikTok and WeChat were also under fire, with the Trump admin labeling them a national security risk.
In an executive order dated August 2020, Trump said, “To protect our Nation, I took action to address the threat posed by one mobile application, TikTok. Further action is needed to address a similar threat posed by another mobile application, WeChat.”
Trump accused the two of automatically collecting “vast swaths of information” including “internet and other network activity information” that could let China track federal employees, and contractors and use the built information profiles for personal interests, including blackmail and corporate espionage.
In the new executive order, Biden has also ordered the Commerce Department to monitor the apps that could affect U.S national security. He also asked the department to make recommendations within the next 120 days to protect against the collection, sale, and transfer of sensitive US consumer data of U.S citizens to foreign adversaries.