TikTok quietly changed USA privacy policies days ahead of Biden executive order
The Commerce Department, according to the White House, will now be required to review TikTok, WeChat, and other apps that are developed, designed, controlled, or manufactured by entities linked to the CCP.
TikTok also collects information from messages sent within the app, metadata, location data, device information and cookies (data on a user's device that makes targeted advertising possible).
The Biden administration's move reflects ongoing concern that Americans' personal data could be exposed by popular apps tied to China, a chief US economic and political rival. Instead, it directs the Commerce Department to evaluate all software applications with potential ties to foreign adversaries including China and take action to protect data on US citizens gathered by the apps.
TikTok has been looking to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review Trump's divestment order and the government's national security review. Replacing his predecessor's executive orders, Biden directed the commerce secretary to investigate apps with ties to foreign adversaries of the United States that might pose a national security risk or compromise the data privacy of American citizens.
Trump's measures have been blocked by federal judges, who said the former administration hadn't shown those apps in particular posed a national security threat justifying a ban.
The Trump administration contended that WeChat and TikTok posed national security concerns with the threat that the sensitive personal data of USA users could be collected by China's government. However, the new order did not address deadlines set by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) in the Trump era for ByteDance to divest from TikTok.
Sources tell FOX Business' Charlie Gasparino that the Biden administration still has not selected top economic positions to sign off on any TikTok deals.
Trump ordered last August that the app, which lets users share video clips and is especially popular with young people, be sold to an American firm or face a ban in the US. Numerous newly targeted companies are subsidiaries and affiliates of major state-owned companies and other businesses named on the earlier blacklist.
The Trump administration order that impacted TikTok and ByteDance, which has also contributed funds to Facebook "fact-checking" website LeadStores, prohibited "any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance Ltd", among other restrictions.
TikTok quietly changed its U.S. Yet TikTok says Chinese government officials have never asked it for information on U.S. users.
Next week, President Biden is due to meet European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and the two are expected to announce a partnership around technology and trade, in an attempt to push back on China's rise as a technology superpower.
The executive order authorizes the Commerce Department to begin vetting foreign apps immediately.
Notably, the Biden administration plans to seek more involvement of other friendly countries in its efforts to police data practices of apps based in potentially unfriendly countries.