TikTok and WeChat ban revoked, new federal app review process ordered

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 9
President Joe Biden has revoked Trump-era bans on TikTok and WeChat, but at the same time ordered broader investigations into apps that could pose a risk to U.S. data privacy or national security.

Credit: Kon Karampelas
Credit: Kon Karampelas


The president on Wednesday signed a new executive order that revokes Trump's ban on the Chinese apps. In place of a ban, the order also directs the U.S. Commerce Department to evaluate apps that could be connected to foreign adversaries and "take action, as appropriate."

Specifically, the Commerce Department will be required to investigate apps "involving software applications that are designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons that are owned or controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign adversary." That includes the People's Republic of China, according to the White House's fact sheet on the order.

As per the order, criteria for apps that could pose a heightened risk include when "transactions involve applications that are owned, controlled, or managed by persons that support foreign adversary military or intelligence activities, or are involved in malicious cyber activities, or involve applications that collect sensitive personal data."

Former President Donald Trump signed an order to ban TikTok and WeChat in the U.S. Though that order was blocked by federal judges, Trump sought to force a sale of the ByteDance-owned TikTok to U.S. companies.

The Biden Administration shelved the pending TikTok ban earlier in 2021. At the time, it said it would "develop a comprehensive approach to securing U.S. data."

Senior officials in the White House told The Wall Street Journal that the order is meant to replace Trump's piecemeal approach with a much more comprehensive plan to review apps that might pose a risk to Americans or that are connected with potentially hostile nations.

The action is also only the latest piece of the Biden Administration's emerging China policy. President Biden has also signed an executive order meant to boost U.S. technology manufacturing in an effort to reduce reliance on China and mitigate semiconductor supply chain shortages, which the administration has called a "national security" issue.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,553member
    Good. the original ban was put in for purely political reasons having to do with the upcoming election and Trump’s rally last fall getting s*rewed over by TicToc users. It was a petty act as was shown by it getting thrashed in the courts. 

    Now whether TicToc and other Chinese apps are a legitimate security risk is a good question. Doing an evaluation first is the responsible way to handle it. That way if an app gets banned the government will have the legal support they need when it goes to court.
    edited June 9 tmaymuthuk_vanalingamciasphericdewmeAlex_V
  • Reply 2 of 13
    The risk of an individual having personal data harvested by Chinese companies isn't the same as a national security risk. The government always has the option of banning federal employees from using an app if they do have some concerns, but banning random citizens from using something like that has no national security purpose. 
    muthuk_vanalingamtenthousandthingslarryjw
  • Reply 3 of 13
    tylersdadtylersdad Posts: 247member
    The risk of an individual having personal data harvested by Chinese companies isn't the same as a national security risk. The government always has the option of banning federal employees from using an app if they do have some concerns, but banning random citizens from using something like that has no national security purpose. 
    Problem is, it isn't just Federal employees who do the work of the US government. There are many private firms who contract services to the government. And there are a lot of really stupid people out there who don't know which platforms are safe to do business on. Tiktok servers are in Singapore and China (through Alibaba). And while Tiktok provides their servers, Chinese law says that any server in China must be accessible by the Chinese government (I've linked the article which shows the issues concerning this law). 

    https://intpolicydigest.org/the-global-implications-of-china-s-national-and-cyber-security-laws/#:~:text=The Chinese government's 2015 National,keys, and backdoor access to
    tmayGRKosturAlex_Vbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 4 of 13
    tylersdadtylersdad Posts: 247member
    DAalseth said:
    Good. the original ban was put in for purely political reasons having to do with the upcoming election and Trump’s rally last fall getting s*rewed over by TicToc users. It was a petty act as was shown by it getting thrashed in the courts. 

    Now whether TicToc and other Chinese apps are a legitimate security risk is a good question. Doing an evaluation first is the responsible way to handle it. That way if an app gets banned the government will have the legal support they need when it goes to court.
    The ban was less about the code and more about the servers. The servers are in Singapore and China. The Chinese 2015 National Security Law specifically states that any server in China (regardless of ownership) must be accessible by Chinese government officials. It's a real problem and many companies have removed servers from China specifically for this reason. I know my company did (one of the big 4 financial services firms). 
    GRKosturAlex_Vbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 5 of 13
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,553member
    tylersdad said: 
    tylersdad said:
    DAalseth said:
    Good. the original ban was put in for purely political reasons having to do with the upcoming election and Trump’s rally last fall getting s*rewed over by TicToc users. It was a petty act as was shown by it getting thrashed in the courts. 

    Now whether TicToc and other Chinese apps are a legitimate security risk is a good question. Doing an evaluation first is the responsible way to handle it. That way if an app gets banned the government will have the legal support they need when it goes to court.
    The ban was less about the code and more about the servers. The servers are in Singapore and China. The Chinese 2015 National Security Law specifically states that any server in China (regardless of ownership) must be accessible by Chinese government officials. It's a real problem and many companies have removed servers from China specifically for this reason. I know my company did (one of the big 4 financial services firms). 
    Absolutely and that is a big concern. The mistake was in trying to apply this sort of thing by Royal Decree. They have to follow the legal procedure so when it goes to court they have the evidence to back it up. 
    edited June 9 matrix077Alex_V
  • Reply 6 of 13
    tylersdadtylersdad Posts: 247member
    DAalseth said:
    tylersdad said: 
    tylersdad said:
    DAalseth said:
    Good. the original ban was put in for purely political reasons having to do with the upcoming election and Trump’s rally last fall getting s*rewed over by TicToc users. It was a petty act as was shown by it getting thrashed in the courts. 

    Now whether TicToc and other Chinese apps are a legitimate security risk is a good question. Doing an evaluation first is the responsible way to handle it. That way if an app gets banned the government will have the legal support they need when it goes to court.
    The ban was less about the code and more about the servers. The servers are in Singapore and China. The Chinese 2015 National Security Law specifically states that any server in China (regardless of ownership) must be accessible by Chinese government officials. It's a real problem and many companies have removed servers from China specifically for this reason. I know my company did (one of the big 4 financial services firms). 
    Absolutely and that is a big concern. The mistake was in trying to apply this sort of thing by Royal Decree. They have to follow the legal procedure so when it goes to court they have the evidence to back it up. 
    Royal decree? You mean Executive Order? If a president can implement policy (such as the deferred action program for illegal immigrants), then a president can certainly ban an app by EO. 
    GRKostur
  • Reply 7 of 13
    tylersdad said:
    The risk of an individual having personal data harvested by Chinese companies isn't the same as a national security risk. The government always has the option of banning federal employees from using an app if they do have some concerns, but banning random citizens from using something like that has no national security purpose. 
    Problem is, it isn't just Federal employees who do the work of the US government. There are many private firms who contract services to the government. And there are a lot of really stupid people out there who don't know which platforms are safe to do business on. Tiktok servers are in Singapore and China (through Alibaba). And while Tiktok provides their servers, Chinese law says that any server in China must be accessible by the Chinese government (I've linked the article which shows the issues concerning this law). 

    https://intpolicydigest.org/the-global-implications-of-china-s-national-and-cyber-security-laws/#:~:text=The Chinese government's 2015 National,keys, and backdoor access to
    Didn't Tiktok said it separated foreign user data and store them out of China?
  • Reply 8 of 13
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,553member
    tylersdad said:
    DAalseth said:
    tylersdad said: 
    tylersdad said:
    DAalseth said:
    Good. the original ban was put in for purely political reasons having to do with the upcoming election and Trump’s rally last fall getting s*rewed over by TicToc users. It was a petty act as was shown by it getting thrashed in the courts. 

    Now whether TicToc and other Chinese apps are a legitimate security risk is a good question. Doing an evaluation first is the responsible way to handle it. That way if an app gets banned the government will have the legal support they need when it goes to court.
    The ban was less about the code and more about the servers. The servers are in Singapore and China. The Chinese 2015 National Security Law specifically states that any server in China (regardless of ownership) must be accessible by Chinese government officials. It's a real problem and many companies have removed servers from China specifically for this reason. I know my company did (one of the big 4 financial services firms). 
    Absolutely and that is a big concern. The mistake was in trying to apply this sort of thing by Royal Decree. They have to follow the legal procedure so when it goes to court they have the evidence to back it up. 
    Royal decree? You mean Executive Order? If a president can implement policy (such as the deferred action program for illegal immigrants), then a president can certainly ban an app by EO. 
    Yes Executive order. I should have included (/s) afterwards. 
    There’s too much legislation getting done that way, by all Presidents. 
    Alex_V
  • Reply 9 of 13
    tylersdadtylersdad Posts: 247member
    DAalseth said:
    tylersdad said:
    DAalseth said:
    tylersdad said: 
    tylersdad said:
    DAalseth said:
    Good. the original ban was put in for purely political reasons having to do with the upcoming election and Trump’s rally last fall getting s*rewed over by TicToc users. It was a petty act as was shown by it getting thrashed in the courts. 

    Now whether TicToc and other Chinese apps are a legitimate security risk is a good question. Doing an evaluation first is the responsible way to handle it. That way if an app gets banned the government will have the legal support they need when it goes to court.
    The ban was less about the code and more about the servers. The servers are in Singapore and China. The Chinese 2015 National Security Law specifically states that any server in China (regardless of ownership) must be accessible by Chinese government officials. It's a real problem and many companies have removed servers from China specifically for this reason. I know my company did (one of the big 4 financial services firms). 
    Absolutely and that is a big concern. The mistake was in trying to apply this sort of thing by Royal Decree. They have to follow the legal procedure so when it goes to court they have the evidence to back it up. 
    Royal decree? You mean Executive Order? If a president can implement policy (such as the deferred action program for illegal immigrants), then a president can certainly ban an app by EO. 
    Yes Executive order. I should have included (/s) afterwards. 
    There’s too much legislation getting done that way, by all Presidents. 

    We can definitely agree on this!
    Alex_V
  • Reply 10 of 13
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 660member
    tylersdad said:
    DAalseth said:
    Good. the original ban was put in for purely political reasons having to do with the upcoming election and Trump’s rally last fall getting s*rewed over by TicToc users. It was a petty act as was shown by it getting thrashed in the courts. 

    Now whether TicToc and other Chinese apps are a legitimate security risk is a good question. Doing an evaluation first is the responsible way to handle it. That way if an app gets banned the government will have the legal support they need when it goes to court.
    The ban was less about the code and more about the servers. The servers are in Singapore and China. The Chinese 2015 National Security Law specifically states that any server in China (regardless of ownership) must be accessible by Chinese government officials. It's a real problem and many companies have removed servers from China specifically for this reason. I know my company did (one of the big 4 financial services firms). 
    Why cant the US government in act the same laws applicable to Chinese firms? Oh wait it’s sino-phobias.    
  • Reply 11 of 13
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,605member
    This is the part that makes me think that, perhaps, the adults have returned to the room:

    "Specifically, the Commerce Department will be required to investigate apps "involving software applications that are designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons that are owned or controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign adversary." That includes the People's Republic of China, according to the White House's fact sheet on the order."

    Performing an independent national security threat assessment on top of whatever Apple does to ensure that apps meet its App Store guidelines absolutely makes sense. I really don't have an issue with the government injecting an additional gate into the app review process if they sincerely care about this kind of thing. Of course the government should absolutely provide the funding and/or staffing to ensure that their needs are met, just like they do with the TSA and transportation security. They cannot simply push the additional burden on Apple and then punish them for noncompliance.

    Alex_V
  • Reply 12 of 13
    I guess that means TenCent can't increase its stake in Epic.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 777member
    This is rich. 

    US companies (and therefore the US government) dominates the entire industry. Platforms (Windows, Apple OSes), languages (Java, Swift, c++, Julia, ...), the Internet, movies (try to stream movies from other countries into the US -- impossible!), Paypal, Uber, Facebook, etc. 

    Hell, half the country is offended if you speak another language here. 

    The rest of the world is completely beholden to this US industry (industries), and WE'RE concerned with other countries' potential influence?  

    That's rich. 
    edited June 10
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