TikTok and WeChat ban revoked, new federal app review process ordered

TikTok and WeChat ban revoked, new federal app review process ordered

The update came on June 2 - a week before President Biden issued an executive order Wednesday dropping the Trump administration's order to block us operations with TikTok and other Chinese-owned apps like WeChat.

The order Wednesday doesn't target any companies specifically.

Biden's executive order also directs Commerce within 120 days to make recommendations to protect U.S. data acquired or accessible by companies controlled by foreign adversaries.

The president on Wednesday signed a new executive order that revokes Trump's ban on the Chinese apps.

"The CFIUS action remains under active discussion by the USA government", a senior administration official told the Verge.

Federal court rulings had blocked the orders from taking effect. The app allows users to send money to one another.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) framed the White House action as a retreat, however, tweeting Wednesday: "This is a major mistake - shows alarming complacency regarding #China's access to Americans' personal information, as well as #China's growing corporate influence". TikTok declined to comment.

The WeChat order threatened to take on its Chinese-based parent company Tencent, by banning financial transactions with the company.

Biden's order seeks to identify any "connected software applications that may pose an unacceptable risk to United States national security and the American people" including "applications 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".

The Trump administration contended that WeChat and TikTok posed national security concerns with the threat that the sensitive personal data of US users could be collected by China's government.

Last year, the Trump administration brokered a deal that would have had US corporations Oracle and Walmart take a large stake in the Chinese-owned app on national security grounds. Those companies have disputed those contentions. Trump had also attempted to force the sale of TikTok. Courts temporarily blocked the White House's attempted ban, and the presidential election soon overshadowed the TikTok fight. This authority was first issued by Trump and is now being implemented by the Biden administration.

In March, the US joined allies in imposing sanctions against Chinese officials engaged in the mass incarceration of mainly Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region.

Last week, the president expanded a Trump-era prohibition on Americans investing in Chinese companies with purported links to China's military. Numerous newly targeted companies are subsidiaries and affiliates of major state-owned companies and other businesses named on the earlier blacklist.

Months before Trump tried to shut down TikTok, the company had been in talks with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, an interagency panel that reviews companies that have overseas ownership. On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill that aims to boost U.S. semiconductor production and the development of artificial intelligence and other technology in the face of growing global competition.

Next week, President Biden is due to meet European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and the two are expected to announce a partnership around technology and trade, in an attempt to push back on China's rise as a technology superpower.

"The Commerce Department's review of these and other apps must not take us down the same misguided path, by serving as a smokescreen for future bans or other unlawful actions".

The new order also seeks recommendations on further toughening of the US approach to protect sensitive data such as genetic information.

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