President Biden has replaced former President Trump’s executive orders which sought to prohibit downloads of the Chinese-owned programs TikTok and WeChat from the U.S., the White House said on Wednesday.
Rather than his predecessor’s orders, Biden led an”evidence-based” evaluation of dangers posed by applications and programs designed and developed with a foreign adversary, such as China, that may represent an”undue or unacceptable risk to the national security” of the American public, according to a fact sheet.
Trump had sought to block new users from downloading the programs, but the orders had been obstructed from courts and never took effect.
Biden reversed orders set up by Trump that targeted TikTok, WeChat and eight additional communications and financial software programs.
Biden’s order provides criteria for identifying software applications that may pose”unacceptable risk,” such as software that encourage foreign adversary military or intelligence activities, programs which are involved in malicious cyber actions or software that collect sensitive personal information.
The president is also directing the Department of Commerce to make recommendations to protect against harm from the sale, transfer of, or access to sensitive personal data, such as genetic and identifiable information.
The order also directs the department to make recommendations for further legislative and executive acts to further address the risks associated with foreign adversary connected software programs.
Biden’s executive action comes after White House press secretary Jen Psaki in February explained that the government was”comprehensively evaluating” dangers to U.S. data including from TikTok.
Her remarks came in reaction to a report by The Wall Street Journal that the Biden government was shelving plans to induce the sale of TikTok which were left incomplete throughout the Trump administration.
Administration officials said TikTok continues to undergo another review by a government panel, the Journal reported Wednesday.