President Trump, in the last few days in office has signed an executive order that bans eight Chinese apps as per Reuters. A senior administrative official said that the step was taken, keeping in mind American privacy issues as the Chinese government could gather American users’ data from these apps and use it as a “mass tool for global oppression,” at a press briefing.
The New York Times has indicated that the order reportedly speaks of the U.S. government reaching a conclusion that a number of Chinese apps automatically record “sensitive, personally identifiable and private information” about American users.
The President raised concerns that the apps could build personal information files of federal and contractual employees. He wrote, “At this time action must be taken to address the threat posed by these Chinese connected software applications.”
The eight apps who are affected by this order are Alipay, WeChatPay, Tencent’s QQ Wallet, QQ Messenger, CamScanner, SHAREit, VMate and Beijing Kingsoft Office Software’s WPS Office.
Although the attempts to block TikTok and WeChat were unsuccessful, this time around the ban could remain as it does not infringe on the First Amendment. The ban would be enforced one and a half months after President Trump leaves office and President-elect Biden takes over office. Biden could overturn the decision but there has been no comment as yet from his team.
The ban will not affect the average American. It will have an impact on Chinese Americans who travel between the U.S and China and businesses who may use these apps to please their Chinese customers.