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

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TikTok also collects information from messages sent within the app, metadata, location data, device information and cookies (data on a user's device that makes targeted advertising possible).

As the Wall Street Journal reports, Biden has revoked executive Trump orders that would have banned TikTok and WeChat downloads, among other restrictions. The administration argued that Americans' private data gathered through the app could be handed over to the authoritarian regime in China, something TikTok has said it would never do.

Unnamed Biden administration officials told the Wall Street Journal that the latest executive order is created to replace Trump's orders with a more comprehensive process targeting apps that may have connections to foreign adversaries, including the CCP.

TikTok did not offer comment on the news.

It is likely the partnership will include joint standards around emerging technologies, as well as commitments to take firmer action policing the internet, and to act on the critical supply chain issues that have arisen during the Covid pandemic.

The Trump administration's attempted bans didn't hold up legally as courts blocked them, and also "ran up against this critique that they were mimicking China's Great Firewall", said Samm Sacks, a fellow at Yale Law School's Paul Tsai China Center. The White House and Congress have both taken action to address Beijing's technological advancement.

The Biden administration last week expanded a Trump-era list of Chinese companies that Americans can't invest in because of purported links to the Chinese military and surveillance.


The order directs the secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the secretary of State, the secretary of Defense, the attorney general, the secretary of Health and Human Services, the secretary of Homeland Security, the director of National Intelligence, and the heads of other agencies as the secretary of Commerce deems appropriate, to recommend actions to protect Americans' data on platforms owned or controlled by a "foreign adversary" within 120 days. On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill that aims to boost United States semiconductor production and the development of artificial intelligence and other technology in the face of growing worldwide competition.

TikTok sought relief via the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for a review of Trump's divestment order and the federal government's order to conduct a national security review.

The amount of data TikTok mines from its mobile phone users is on par with what other apps collect, including ones owned by Facebook and Google.

Months before Trump tried to shut down TikTok, the company had been in talks with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the USA, an interagency panel that reviews companies that have overseas ownership.

The Biden administration earlier this year had backed off President Donald Trump's attempts to ban TikTok and WeChat as it reviewed national security threats posed by Chinese technology companies.

ByteDance, TikTok's corporate owner, is still involved in those negotiations over a deal to ensure Americans' data is not in jeopardy of being accessed by Chinese authorities. State media in China called Trump's tactics against TikTok "nothing short of broad daylight robbery".

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