Washington: The White House dropped Trump-era executive orders intended to ban the popular apps TikTok and WeChat and will conduct its own review aimed at identifying national security risks with software applications tied to China.
A new executive order directs the Commerce Department to undertake what officials describe as an “evidence-based” analysis of transactions involving apps that are manufactured or supplied or controlled by China. Officials are particularly concerned about apps that collect users’ personal data or have connections to Chinese military or intelligence activities.
In revoking some of President Donald Trump’s blanket-style orders against Chinese tech companies and replacing them with a narrower approach, the Biden administration has not actually weighed in yet on whether TikTok and other apps pose a danger to Americans.
An analysis by Citizen Lab found TikTok’s personal data collection was no more invasive than that of Facebook. Credit:AP
A cybersecurity and privacy analysis of TikTok published in March by the internet watchdog group Citizen Lab found no evidence of malicious behaviour and said TikTok’s practices of collecting personal data and tracking users’ behaviour were no worse than other major social platforms such as Facebook.
“Our research shows that there is no overt data transmission to the Chinese government by TikTok,” the report said. It added that TikTok’s service did not contact any servers within China, but it was still theoretically possible that servers outside China could later transfer user data to China-based servers.