The Biden administration overturned three Trump-era executive orders, which could have drastic national security implications. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) called the decision a “big mistake”.
President Joe Biden signed a Executive Decree to “develop measures to deal with the national emergency with regard to the supply chain of information and communications technologies and services”. The executive order titled “Executive Order on Protecting Americans’ Sensitive Data from Foreign Opponents” not only overturned former President Donald Trump’s ban on Chinese Communist-owned apps like TikTok and WeChat, but it also established new criteria for determining whether foreign-owned apps pose a threat. Senator Hawley commented on Biden’s decree, disparaging him in a Tweeter: “This is a major mistake – shows an alarming complacency towards #Chinaaccess to Americans’ personal information, as well as #China’the growing influence of business.
Biden’s decree recognized that some foreign applications may pose a threat. He notably cited the “People’s Republic of China” as a threat to “national security”. However, instead of just reassessing Trump’s policies, Biden apparently decided to start from scratch. The federal government will set its own set of standards for whether foreign apps, like TikTok and WeChat, are safe. “The federal government should assess these threats through rigorous, evidence-based analysis and should address any unacceptable or unjustified risk consistent with overall national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives, including preservation and demonstration. America’s Core Values and Fundamental Freedoms ”read the new executive order.
Biden’s executive order also set new criteria for determining whether to ban software in the future. The ordinance stated that the Secretary of Commerce should create a test to determine whether applications: “may present an undue risk of sabotage or subversion of the design, integrity, manufacture, production, distribution , installation, operation or maintenance of information and communications technologies. or services in the United States. The executive order also sought to ban applications that may “present an undue risk of catastrophic effects on the security or resilience of critical infrastructure or the digital economy of the United States; or otherwise pose an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the safety and security of persons of the United States.
A report of The Wall Street Journal discovered that TikTok was able to collect user data by exploiting a privacy loophole in Google’s Android operating system. The flaw allowed the app to track users online without allowing them to opt out. Trump tried to ban TikTok and WeChat last year, citing national security concerns. Ironically, Biden’s campaign also seemed to have recognized TikTok’s potential danger. The campaign reportedly told its staff to remove the app in August 2020. The US military has also banned the app from officially released phones.
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