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Biden Revokes Trump Ban On Tiktok, Wechat But Orders New Review

Biden Revokes Trump Ban On Tiktok, Wechat But Orders New Review
A series of Trump-era executive orders aimed at China were withdrawn by US President Joe Biden. Those executive orders that were passed by the former President Donald Trump were aimed at banning new downloads of the popular Chinese owned messaging app WeChat and the ChInEse owned short video making and sharing app TikTok and had ordered the US Commerce Department to conduct a review of the security concerns that were posed by the above mentioned apps as well as other Chinese apps.
Both TikTok and WeChat had said that the Trump order would effectively prevent the use of the apps in the United States as the order also sought to ban technical transactions of the apps.
The orders were however blocked by US courts and those were never implemented.
A White House official however said that a separate US national security review of TikTok which was launched in late 2019 is still active and ongoing. No further details were provided by the White House. Another White House official a White House official said that there was also some serious concerns of the White House about the data risks of TikTok users.
Under the new order from Biden, the US Commerce Department has been directed to monitor software applications such as TikTok and estimate how the national security of the US could be affected by them. The review of asks the Department to make recommendations within 120 days related to protecting US data that has been or can be acquired or is accessible by companies that are controlled by foreign adversaries.
There were no comments on the issue from TikTok and WeChat.
With total downloads of at least 19 million times by US users, WeChat is widely used as a medium for services, games and payments.
The Biden administration was praised for its latest decision by Michael Bien, the lead lawyer for the WeChat Users Alliance which had sued to block the Trump order, and applauded Biden for revoking the "wrong-headed ban on WeChat that ... would have led to the unprecedented shutdown of a major platform for communications relied on by millions of people in the United States."
The executive orders issued by WeChat and TikTok in August as well as another order in January that was directed against other communications and financial technology software applications, were revoked by Biden.
In the January order issued by Trump, officials were directed to ban transactions with eight Chinese apps including Ant Group's Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd's QQ Wallet and WeChat pay. None of the bans have so far been implemented.
One of the major reasons for the trump administration issue the ban was the concerns around WeChat and TikTok posing national security threats as the Chinese government agencies collecting sensitive personal data of US users.
Both TikTok, which has over 100 million users in the United States, and WeChat have denied posing national security concerns.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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