Biden revokes TikTok, WeChat bans and orders security review

Biden revokes TikTok, WeChat bans and orders security review

TikTok sought relief via the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for a review of Trump's divestment order and the federal government's order to conduct a national security review.

An executive order signed by President Joe Biden directs the U.S. Department of Commerce to "evaluate these threats through rigorous, evidence-based analysis and should address any unacceptable or undue risks consistent with overall national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives, including the preservation and demonstration of America's core values and fundamental freedoms".

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

Mr Trump ordered the ban on new downloads of the viral video app TikTok, which is owned by Chinese firm Bytedance, in 2020.

A court filing said the Commerce Department was reviewing whether Trump's claims about TikTok's threat to national security justified the attempts to ban it from smartphone app stores and deny it vital technical services.

It's no secret that American tech companies like Facebook and Google also collect large amounts of user data, but the "scope and scale" of TikTok's app's data collection makes it easier for Chinese spies to answer "all kinds of different intelligence questions" on USA nationals, Anne Neuberger, NSA's director of cybersecurity, told TechCrunch at Disrupt 2020.

Neither company immediately responded to inquiries from FOX Business regarding the order.

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".

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The Biden administration last week expanded a Trump-era list of Chinese companies that Americans can't invest in because of purported links to the Chinese military and surveillance. That includes the People's Republic of China, according to the White House's fact sheet on the order. But those efforts stalled amid litigation over the legality of Trump's executive actions.

The administration argued that Americans' private data gathered through the app could be handed over to the authoritarian regime in China, something TikTok has said it would never do. This prevents the USA from attempting to ban apps from specific regions without a legitimate reason for doing so.

The department also will make recommendations on how to further protect Americans' genetic and personal health information, and will address the risks of certain software apps connected to China or other adversaries, according to senior administration officials.

Former President Trump's orders seeking to ban TikTok and WeChat in the US had been blocked by federal court jurisdictions.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill that aims to boost US semiconductor production and the development of artificial intelligence and other technology in the face of growing global competition.

TikTok, which has been downloaded more than 100 million times in the U.S., got caught up in Trump's crackdown on Chinese technology companies and their influence in the US.

The announcement highlights how the Biden administration shares numerous same national security concerns as the Trump administration regarding Chinese-made mobile apps, even as Biden withdraws the specific orders targeting individual companies.

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