President Joe Biden recently issued an executive order warning of the continued threat to US national security posed by non-domestic software. While President Biden didn't specify any single company, there's a strong possibility that this includes social media apps such as TikTok and WeChat.
The president called on the Department of Commerce (DoC) to evaluate any potential threats, stating that he was concerned about the rise of people using services provided by "persons owned or subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign adversary", including China.
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As reported by Mobile World Live (opens in new tab), President Biden stated that he not only worries about the security aspect of these apps, but he's also concerned about the impact they could have on the US economy.
The president called for the DoC to conduct "rigorous, evidence-based analysis and address any unacceptable risks". He expects to see recommendations on ways to protect sensitive US data within 120 days of the probe beginning. President Biden also called for the DoC to recommend additional executive and legislative actions to address any potential risks that using "foreign adversary connected software applications" could bring.
However, while President Biden ordered a new review into non-domestic software companies, he also withdrew previous executive orders that prohibited transactions with eight other communications and fintech apps, including Alipay, WeChat Pay and more.
These executive orders were put into place by former US President Donald Trump, who sought to ban apps such as TikTok and WeChat from the US entirely. His orders were ultimately blocked by legal challenges from the parent companies of the apps, ByteDance and Tencent respectively.
While we might not see a total ban on TikTok or WeChat attempted again, it's possible we might see some legislation put into place to limit the amount of data that these apps can siphon from their users. However, this is pure speculation and we'll have to wait to see how this reoccurring issue will develop.
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