Through an executive order issued Wednesday, President Biden rescinded the prior administration’s directive aimed at banning Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat. The replacement order calls for a wider scale review of foreign-operated apps that could pose risks to Americans’ personal data as well as the national security, international relations, and economy of the United States.
The order, entitled “Executive Order on Protecting Americans’ Sensitive Data from Foreign Adversaries,” explained that Biden finds it “appropriate to elaborate upon measures to address the national emergency with respect to the information and communications technology and services supply chain.”
As such, the president stated that threats posed by foreign adversary-made connected software applications should be evaluated by the federal government. The process will reportedly employ “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.”
According to a New York Times article by Katie Rogers and Cecilia Kang published on Wednesday, the order is the first step taken by Biden to address his predecessor’s attempt to ban the apps, owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd. As previously reported, President Trump’s September 2020 executive order was promptly challenged in court, resulting in an injunction preventing enforcement of the ban until this November.
Simultaneously, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration permitted TikTok to continue operations within the United States on the condition that it sold itself to an American company and discarded Chinese ties. Thereafter, major companies, including Oracle and Walmart made and won bids to buy a percentage of TikTok. Trump then reportedly reneged the deal his administration sanctioned.
According to The New York Times’ sources, the new presidential directive “was meant to create a process that could withstand such a challenge if the Biden administration chose to ratchet up pressure on individual apps.” By comparison, the order is reportedly more organized but just as tough as its predecessor, the news outlet reported.