Biden unTrumps TikTok, WeChat and Alipay but watches closely

Biden unTrumps TikTok, WeChat and Alipay but watches closely

10 June 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Joe Biden has revoked his predecessor’s ban on TikTok, WeChat, Alipay and other Chinese apps, but has told the Commerce Secretary to keep investigating.

Donald Trump signed an executive order in January, just before the uprising by his supporters against the Capitol building, following moves by his Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross.

Now Biden has told Gina Raimondo, whom he appointed in Ross’s place, to use “an evidence-based approach” on Chinese apps to see if they pose a risk.

Trump and Ross began their action in September 2020, in a move to ban TikTok, WeChat, and Alipay from app stores and to prevent them from operating in the US.

Ross said in September: “Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party.”

But now it looks as though Biden has accepted that Trump and Ross had no evidence for their moves.

The White House said last night that the new executive order from Biden “directs the use of a criteria-based decision framework and rigorous, evidence-based analysis” before imposing bans or blocks.

His new executive order “provides criteria for identifying software applications that may pose unacceptable risk” and “develops further options to protect sensitive personal data and address the potential threat from certain connected software applications”.

But so far, there is no evidence, he seems to have admitted.