Chinese apps could face subpoena or bans under Biden order
US President Joe Biden’s executive order to protect sensitive Americans’ data would force some Chinese apps to take more stringent measures to protect private information if they want to stay in the US market, people familiar with the matter say.
The goal is to prevent foreign adversaries like China and Russia from gaining access to large amounts of personal and proprietary business information.
The US Department of Commerce may issue subpoenas to collect information about certain software applications for smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Then the agency can either negotiate the terms of their use in the United States or ban the apps, according to people familiar with the matter.
Biden’s June 9 order replaced President Donald Trump’s 2020 bans on popular Chinese apps WeChat, owned by Tencent Holdings Co, and ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok. US courts have suspended these bans.
U.S. officials share many of the concerns Trump cited in his order banning TikTok, according to a person familiar with the matter. Notably, they fear that China could locate U.S. government employees, build personal information files for blackmail purposes, and conduct commercial espionage.
The new order could end up capturing more apps than Trump’s final orders due to a stricter legal framework. Reuters are the first to provide details on how the Biden administration plans to implement the order, including seeking support from other countries.
U.S. officials have started talking to their allies about taking a similar approach, a source said. The hope is that partner countries can agree on which apps should be banned.
US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo will decide which apps to target for US action, but they must meet certain criteria. For example, they must be owned, controlled or managed by a person or entity that supports the military or intelligence activities of a foreign adversary such as China or Russia.
WECHAT, TIKTOK CAN BE REVISED
If Raimondo decides that an application presents an unacceptable risk, it “has the discretion to notify the parties” directly or to publish the information in the government’s official daily publication, the Federal Register, a department spokesperson said. Trade.
Companies will then have 30 days to oppose or propose measures to better secure data, said the spokesperson for Commerce.
Chinese apps are most likely to fall in the Commerce Department’s sights given the escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing, the Chinese government’s ability to exercise control over companies, and the number of Chinese apps. used by Americans.
WeChat, TikTok and eight other apps targeted by the Trump administration in its final months can be reviewed by Biden’s team, a source said.
Trump’s targets also included Ant Group’s Alipay mobile payment app, WeChat Pay, Tencent Holdings Ltd’s QQ wallet, Tencent QQ, CamScanner, SHAREit, VMate released by Alibaba group subsidiary UCWeb and WPS office of Beijing Kingsoft Office Software.[L1N2JG2H2]
Some of the apps Trump named have serious data protection concerns, while it’s unclear why others pose an increased risk to national security, according to another person familiar with the matter.
The ordinance will apply to business applications, including those used in banking and telecommunications, as well as consumer applications, the first source said.
Meanwhile, applications linked to other adversaries like Iran or Venezuela are already blocked under broader sanctions.
This story was posted from an agency feed with no text editing.
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