President Biden on Wednesday revoked a Trump-era executive order that sought to ban popular TikTok and WeChat apps and replaced it with one that calls for a broader review of a number of foreign-controlled apps that could pose a risk to the security of Americans and their data.
In a call with reporters on Wednesday, administration officials said the Trump-era ordinance had not been implemented “in the healthiest way” and that the new directive would set standards. “clear and intelligible criteria” for assessing the risks to national security posed by software applications connected abroad. governments, especially China.
The order will cover a number of applications and will reinforce recent steps taken by the Biden administration to curb the growing influence of Chinese tech companies. And it’s the first big step Biden has taken to tackle a challenge left to him by former President Donald J. Trump, whose administration fought to ban TikTok and force his Chinese parent company, ByteDance. , to sell the application. Legal challenges immediately followed and the app is still available as the battle languishes in the courts.
Administration officials said on Wednesday that a review of TikTok by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the body that examines the national security implications of foreign investments in American companies, was still underway. and separate from the order.
Mr Biden’s order “will direct the Secretary of Commerce to use a rigorous, evidence-based criteria-based decision framework and analysis to assess and address the risks” posed by applications operated overseas, according to a note circulated by the Commerce Department and obtained by the New York Times. “As warranted, the secretary will determine the appropriate actions based on a thorough examination of the risks posed by the foreign adversary’s connected software applications.”
TikTok declined to comment on Wednesday morning.
Mr Biden’s order sought to expand the one issued in 2019 by the Trump administration, which prohibited US telecommunications companies from installing overseas-made equipment that could pose a threat to national security. The order did not name specific companies, nor the one Mr. Biden issued on Wednesday.
Administration officials would not go into details on the future of TikTok’s availability to US users on Wednesday or say whether or not the US government would seek to force ByteDance to transfer US user data to a third party. company based in the United States. Amid a number of successful legal challenges by ByteDance, an agreement to move data to Oracle collapsed earlier this year, shortly after Mr Biden took office.