United States President, Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order revoking the Trump administration ban on TikTok and WeChat. The U.S. Department of Commerce has now been directed to carry out its own investigation on apps with ties to China that may pose national security risks.
The new order by President Biden replaces last year’s series of executive orders by President Trump preventing apps like TikTok, WeChat and Alipay from operating in the United States by blocking them from app stores. Last year saw a series of court challenges between the US government and TikTok with a judge eventually blocking the executive order to block the app. The Department of Commerce will now carry out “evidence-based” analysis of transactions of apps with ties to China.
“The administration is committed to promoting an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure internet and to protecting human rights online and offline, and to supporting a vibrant global digital economy,” a senior administration official explained on Wednesday.
“The challenge that we’re addressing with this EO is that certain countries, including China, do not share these commitments or values and are instead working to leverage digital technologies and American data in ways that present unacceptable national security risks,” the official continued.
The Department of Commerce is now expected to make recommendations on how to protect Americans’ data such as genetic and personal health information, and address the concerns concerning apps with ties to China or other foreign adversaries, senior administration officials noted.
The Wednesday order by President Biden is the latest move in the ongoing saga concerning national security between the US and China. Last week, the US government issued another order banning American investment in 59 companies with alleged ties to the Chinese military.