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President Biden revokes Trump executive orders targeting TikTok and WeChat

Thursday’s order seeks to protect Americans’ personal data, according to a White House press release, and directs the Commerce Department to develop criteria to assess potential national security risks associated with apps that are “owned. , controlled or managed by individuals who support opposing military or intelligence activities, or are involved in malicious cyber activities, or involve applications that collect sensitive personal data. “

The announcement highlights how the Biden administration shares many of the same national security concerns as the Trump administration regarding mobile apps made in China, even as Biden withdraws specific orders targeting individual companies.

Over the past year, policymakers in Washington have raised concerns that app makers with ties to China could be forced by Beijing to release their customers’ personal information. Some U.S. lawmakers have suggested that China may seek to influence popular apps like TikTok to spread disinformation or engage in censorship. TikTok declined to comment.

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is based in China. Last year, the Trump administration sought to force ByteDance to turn TikTok into a new company owned mostly by American investors. He also signed an executive order that led the Commerce Department to push for a ban on TikTok from US-based app stores. But those efforts have been stalled amid a dispute over the legality of Trump’s executive actions.

For months, TikTok has been negotiating with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a multi-agency national security panel, on ways to secure the data of American users.

The Biden administration’s new decree does not affect these negotiations, which are a separate process, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Wednesday’s order also directs the Commerce Department to prepare a report with recommendations on how to protect Americans’ personal data, including their genetic data, as well as a second report with additional policy proposals.

A note describing the order that was released by Commerce and obtained by CNN specifically states that apps created by those subject to Chinese law are covered by the order.

“The Biden administration is committed to promoting an open, interoperable, reliable and secure Internet, protecting human rights online and offline, and supporting a vibrant global digital economy,” the memo reads. “Some countries, including the PRC, that do not share these democratic values ​​seek to leverage Americans’ digital technologies and data in ways that present unacceptable risks to national security while advancing controls and authoritarian interests. protect Americans’ sensitive data from collection and use by foreign adversaries through connected software applications. “

This story has been updated with additional information.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong day Biden took executive action. Biden revoked the order and issued his new order on Wednesday.

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