US President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that he has rescinded and replaced decrees issued by his predecessor Donald Trump to ban TikTok, WeChat and eight other applications.
Instead, it calls for a broad investigation into the risks posed by Internet applications owned by some foreign powers.
The new executive order seeks to designate all “connected software applications that may pose an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States and the American people,” including “applications owned, controlled, or operated by individuals who support the military activities or intelligence of another state.” engage in malicious electronic activities, or include applications that collect sensitive personal data.”
The Commerce Department and other federal agencies are calling for the development of guidelines to “protect sensitive personal data…including personally identifiable information and genetic information” from misuse.
Donald Trump has claimed that Chinese-owned apps pose national security risks to the United States and has sought to force the sale of TikTok to American investors.
WeChat, a ubiquitous platform in Chinese lives through messaging, remote payments or reservation services, and TikTok, an app for short videos especially popular with young people, were accused of collecting confidential data, before sharing it with Beijing.
These companies have long refuted the accusations of espionage.
A legal battle ensued. At the end of December, the Trump administration appealed a court ruling preventing the Commerce Department from imposing restrictions on TikTok, which would have led to the social network being banned in the United States.
But in February, the Biden administration asked the appeals court to give it 60 days to study the case and decide whether or not the Trump administration’s request would be upheld.