Chinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report

Chinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report
© getty

Chinese apps could face subpoenas and bans under President BidenJoe BidenCDC chief clarifies vaccine comments: 'There will be no nationwide mandate' Overnight Defense: First group of Afghan evacuees arrives in Virginia | Biden signs Capitol security funding bill, reimbursing Guard | Pentagon raises health protection level weeks after lowering it Biden urges local governments to stave off evictions MORE’s new executive order to protect U.S. residents' personal information, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The sources told the wire service that the order could force apps owned and made by foreign entities such as China to take tougher measures to protect sensitive information. 

The U.S. Department of Commerce could potentially issue subpoenas for software applications to collect information on how the apps protect private data, the sources said.


The department could then ban the apps or negotiate their conditions of use for the U.S., Reuters reported.

News from Reuters comes after U.S. lawmakers and leaders have raised concerns about foreign adversaries such as China and Russia gaining access to large swaths of private information. The U.S. military banned its members from using TikTok in February 2020 over security concerns about the app's parent company ByteDance. 

Biden signed an executive last week that halted a ban on Chinese apps such as TikTok and WeChat, changing a restriction that was enacted via executive order by former President TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE. Trump’s bans against Chinese apps were never enacted after they were tied up in court. 

Biden said he wanted an “evidence-based” analysis of the threat software made in foreign countries poses and the “undue or unacceptable risk to the national security” they could cause. 

According to sources who spoke with Reuters, the same apps could be under review with Biden’s order. 


According to the wire service, Commerce Secretary Gina RaimondoGina RaimondoSunday shows - Jan. 6 investigation dominates Commerce secretary: We're 'very close' to passing bipartisan infrastructure bill Sunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe MORE would have the authority to decide which apps or software would warrant U.S. action, though they would have to meet certain requirements. 

For example, the apps would have to be controlled by someone with a connection to the military or intelligence of countries such as China or Russia. Should Raimondo find that a product poses a security risk, the secretary has the "discretion to notify the parties" directly or publish the information in the Federal Register, according to the news outlet. 

The companies targeted would have 30 days to respond to the action and change the way they secure personal data, according to Reuters. 

The Hill has reached out to the Department of Commerce for comment.