(AP) — The White House
has dropped Trump-era executive orders attempting to ban the popular apps TikTok
and WeChat and will conduct its own review aimed at identifying national security
risks with software applications associated with China
, officials said Wednesday.
A new executive order directs the Commerce Department
to conduct an “evidence-based” analysis of transactions involving apps manufactured, supplied, or controlled by China, with a particular focus on apps that collect user persona data or have links to Chinese military
or intelligence activities.
According to senior administration officials, the department will also make recommendations on how to better protect Americans' genetic and personal health
information, as well as address the risks associated with certain software apps linked to China or other adversaries.
The move by the Biden administration
reflects the ongoing concern that popular apps linked to China, the United States
' main economic and political rival, could expose Americans' personal data. Both the White House and Congress
have taken action to address Beijing
's technological advancement. On Tuesday, the Senate
passed a bill aimed at increasing U.S. semiconductor production and the development of artificia.
Earlier this year, the administration backed down from President Donald Trump
's efforts to ban the popular video app TikTok, asking a court to postpone a legal dispute as the government launched a broader review of the national security threats posed by Chinese technology companies.
According to a court filing, the Commerce Department was reviewing whether Trump's claims about TikTok's threat to national security justified attempts to ban it from smartphone app stores and deny it vital technical services, with an update due later this week in a court case.
A proposed U.S. takeover of TikTok has also been put on hold. Last year, the Trump administration
brokered a deal
in which U.S. corporations Oracle and Walmart
would have taken a significant stake in the Chinese-owned app on national security grounds.
The unusual arrangement resulted from a Trump executive order that sought to prohibit TikTok from operating in the United States unless it agreed to accept greater American control.
Over the summer of 2020, Trump targeted TikTok with a series of orders citing concerns about the U.S. data TikTok collects from its users. Courts temporarily blocked the White House's attempted ban, and the TikTok fight was quickly overshadowed by the presidential election
TikTok has petitioned the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review Trump's divestment order as well as the government's national security review.
Arbel contributed reporting from New York
, while O'Brien was in Providence, Rhode Island