Trump issues order banning transactions with 8 Chinese apps

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President Trump on Tuesday issued an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese apps, citing concerns about data privacy.

The order, which goes into effect in 45 days, prohibits transactions with Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office. The order builds on previous efforts by Trump to outlaw the use of WeChat and TikTok on similar grounds.

“The United States has assessed that a number of Chinese connected software applications automatically capture vast swaths of information from millions of users in the United States, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information, which would allow the [People’s Republic of China] and [Chinese Communist Party] access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information,” Trump said in the order.

The president cited past cyber attacks connected to China, including a 2014 hack of the Office of Personnel Management and the 2017 Equifax hack that compromised the personal information of millions of Americans.

SHAREit allows users to transfer files from one device to another; CamScanner can be used as a PDF scanner; Tencent QQ is a messaging app; VMate is a video editing app; WeChat Pay can be used within the WeChat messaging app to make payments while AliPay is another payment app; and WPS Office is an app akin to Microsoft Office.

“I stand with President Trump’s commitment to protecting the privacy and security of Americans from threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party, and the Department of Commerce will leverage the authorities of  the E.O. to continue our mission to secure the nation, the economy, and the people of the United States,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

But with the order not going into effect until next month, it will fall to the incoming Biden administration to decide whether to enforce it or rescind it. China policy is one of the more complicated areas for Biden as his team weighs which policies to leave in place amid simmering tensions with Beijing.

Trump had previously issued an executive order in August banning transactions between U.S. companies and ByteDance, which is the parent company of TikTok, as well as Tencent Holdings, which owns WeChat.

The TikTok ban has yet to go into effect after it was stalled in court.

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