President Joe Biden revoked a wave of executive orders that were signed during Donald Trump’s administration that targeted Chinese apps, including TikTok and WeChat.
On Wednesday (June 8), the president replaced Trump’s ban on the apps with a new executive order, which will be aimed at protecting Americans’ personal data. Under Biden’s new order, the Commerce Department will develop standards for evaluating possible national security risks associated with apps that are “owned, controlled, or managed by persons that support foreign adversary military or intelligence activities, or are involved in malicious cyber activities, or involve applications that collect sensitive personal data.”
Last September, the Trump administration sought to ban the apps from U.S.-based app stores, claiming that they posed a threat to the country’s national security. ByteDance, Tiktok’s parent company, is based in China and the former president wanted to force them into creating a new company owned by U.S. investors. By November 2020, the apps were supposed to have been completely blocked in the country.
For months, TikTok negotiated with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. on ways that it could secure the data of American users. However, Biden’s new orders do not affect those negotiations because they are a separate process.
CNN obtained a copy of a memo from the Commerce Department that described Biden’s new order.
“The Biden Administration is committed to promoting an open, interoperable, reliable and secure Internet, protecting human rights online and offline, and supporting a vibrant, global digital economy,” the memo read. “Certain countries, including the PRC, that do not share these democratic values seek to leverage digital technologies and Americans’ data in ways that present unacceptable national security risks while advancing authoritarian controls and interests. Through this E.O. the United States is taking strong steps to protect Americans’ sensitive data from collection and utilization by foreign adversaries through connected software applications.”