A White House press release on Thursday said the order was aimed at protecting Americans’ personal data and “commands the Department of Commerce to develop criteria for assessing national security risks related to applications owned, controlled or managed by persons who support foreign affairs. Or applications that collect sensitive personal data. “
The announcement highlights how the Biden administration shares many national security concerns, such as the Trump administration, about Chinese-made mobile applications, even as Biden withdraws specific orders targeting private companies.
Over the past year, policymakers across Washington have raised concerns that application makers with ties to China could be forced by Beijing to hand over their customers’ personal information. Some U.S. lawmakers have suggested that China could try to influence popular applications such as Dictoc to spread or censor misinformation. Dicktock declined to comment.
Dictok’s parent company, Bite Dance, is based in China. Last year, the Trump administration sought to force Bite Dance to transform Dictok into a new company primarily owned by US investors. He also signed an executive order that led the business community to ban Dictoc from US-based app stores. But those efforts stalled amid lawsuits over the legitimacy of Trump’s executive actions.
For months, Dictoc has been in talks with the Foreign Investment Group in the United States, the National Security Council of several companies, on ways to protect the data of American users.
The new executive order of the Biden administration will not affect those negotiations, which is a separate process, says someone familiar with the matter.
Wednesday’s order instructs the Department of Commerce to prepare a report with recommendations on how to protect Americans’ personal data, including their genetic data, as well as a second report with additional policy proposals.
A memo describing the order, which was circulated by the Department of Commerce and received by CNN, states that applications created by those subject to Chinese law are under the order.
“Biden Management is committed to promoting an open, functional, reliable and secure Internet, protecting human rights online and offline, and supporting a vibrant, global digital economy,” the memo states. “Some countries, including the PRC, which does not share these democratic values, are seeking to use digital technologies and American data in ways that present unacceptable national security risks while advancing dictatorial restrictions and interests. And protect important American data from use. “
This story has been updated with additional information.
Correction: An earlier version of this story gave Biden the wrong day to take executive action. Biden rescinded the order and issued his new order on Wednesday.