Biden replaces Trump executive orders targeting TikTok and WeChat

President Biden has replaced former President Trump’s executive orders that sought to ban downloads of the Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat in the U.S., the White House said on Wednesday.

In place of his predecessor’s orders, Biden directed an “evidence-based” analysis of risks posed by software and apps designed and developed by a foreign adversary, including China, that may represent an “undue or unacceptable risk to the national security” of the American people, according to a fact sheet.

Trump had sought to block new users from downloading the apps, but the orders were blocked in courts and never took effect.

Biden reversed orders put in place by Trump that targeted TikTok, WeChat and eight other communications and financial software applications.

Biden’s order provides criteria for identifying software applications that may pose “unacceptable risk,” such as applications that support foreign adversary military or intelligence activities, applications that are involved in malicious cyber activities or applications that collect sensitive personal data. 

The president is also directing the Department of Commerce to make recommendations to protect against harm from the sale, transfer of, or access to sensitive personal data, including identifiable and genetic information. 

The order also directs the department to make recommendations for additional executive and legislative actions to further address the risks associated with foreign adversary connected software applications. 

Biden’s executive action comes after White House press secretary Jen Psaki in February said that the administration was “comprehensively evaluating” risks to U.S. data including from TikTok. 

Her comments came in response to a report from The Wall Street Journal that the Biden administration was shelving plans to force the sale of TikTok that were left incomplete during the Trump administration. 

Administration officials said TikTok continues to undergo a separate review by a government panel, the Journal reported Wednesday

Tags cybersecurity Donald Trump Jen Psaki Joe Biden Software tiktok TikTok ban WeChat
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