On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced that it would lift the Trump era bans on TikTok and WeChat and instead impose a security audit by the Department of Commerce. The Trump administration had tried to prevent new users from downloading apps and ban other technical events from Chinese-owned social media platforms.
These regulations had been blocked by U.S. courts and never came into effect – although a separate U.S. national security review was launched from TikTok in 2019, which remains active and ongoing. Despite the lifting of the Trump era ban, the White House has said it remains very concerned about the data risks for TikTok users. Now, the Department of Commerce is monitoring the applications and determining if they could affect U.S. national security.
The Department of Commerce has 120 days to make recommendations.
“The administration is committed to promoting an open, interoperable, reliable and secure Internet and protecting human rights online and offline, as well as supporting a vibrant global digital economy,” a senior official in the Biden administration said Wednesday, Verge announced.
“The challenge we face with this EO is that certain countries, including China, do not share these commitments or values and instead seek to exploit digital technology and American data in ways that pose impossible national security risks,” the official continued.
The decision of some Republican legislators to refuse was quickly overturned.
“The Biden administration cannot ignore the serious threat to personal privacy and U.S. national security posed by high-risk foreign applications, including Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat,” U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) said in a statement.
“A comprehensive policy with serious teeth starts with creating a framework of standards that must be met before a high-risk foreign application can operate on American telecommunications networks and equipment,” Rubio added. “If President Biden is serious about protecting American credentials and our security from Chinese malicious applications and software, he should urge the U.S. Department of Commerce to take the steps outlined in my APP Act.”
Last October, Rubio had introduced it Adversarial Platform Prevention (APP) Act, which would strengthen a set of data protection and censorship standards and restrictions that high – risk foreign software, such as Chinese – owned TikTok and WeChat, must meet in order to operate legally in the United States. The bill, re-introduced this year, would define high-risk foreign software as software owned by entities that are organized or headquartered in China, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, or another country. a state designated as a state sponsor of terrorism.
What did the ban show?
One question is, does the Trump ban apply to anything?
“For the most part, the things the Trump ban wanted to prevent had already happened before the Trump ban was applied, especially to TikTok,” said Roger Entner, technology analyst at Recon Analytics.
“The images of millions of Americans are on Chinese servers,” warned Entner The WeChat, which we use in the West, is a light shadow from its Chinese counterpart and plays an insignificant role in the West. No one used it unless you wanted to communicate with someone in China. After all, the bans were a rough temptation to get TikTok to sell its assets in the United States, but even that failed. The bans no longer serve any real purpose, so they were revoked by the Biden administration. “