Donald Trump-era ban on TikTok dropped by Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden speaks during a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre at the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa Oklahoma

USA courts have successfully blocked the former administration's August 2020 order banning the apps, which cited national security concerns due to a 2017 Chinese law that orders Chinese companies to share data with the government upon request.

As per the order, criteria for apps that could pose a heightened risk include when "transactions involve applications that are owned, controlled, or managed by persons that support foreign adversary military or intelligence activities, or are involved in malicious cyber activities, or involve applications that collect sensitive personal data".

Former President Donald Trump signed executive orders past year to ban the applications' parent organizations from transacting with American companies due to concerns over surveillance and their connections to the Chinese government.

It's no secret that American tech companies like Facebook and Google also collect large amounts of user data, but the "scope and scale" of TikTok's app's data collection makes it easier for Chinese spies to answer "all kinds of different intelligence questions" on USA nationals, Anne Neuberger, NSA's director of cybersecurity, told TechCrunch at Disrupt 2020. TikTok declined to comment.

Unnamed Biden administration officials told the Wall Street Journal that the latest executive order is created to replace Trump's orders with a more comprehensive process targeting apps that may have connections to foreign adversaries, including the CCP.

The White House and Congress have both taken action to address Beijing's technological advancement. The court had determined the ban was "arbitrary and capricious" because the Trump administration failed "to adequately consider an obvious and reasonable alternative before banning TikTok".

Mr Biden's officials have insisted that they plan to be just as tough as Mr Trump was on Chinese tech investments, but replace his sometimes ad hoc broadsides with a more legalistic approach.

The new executive order should lead to a framework for protecting Americans' data from China, rather than targeting specific companies, and could pressure Congress to enact a data-security law in the years ahead, said Paul Triolo, a tech policy expert at the Eurasia Group consultancy. Tuesday the Senate approved a $250 billion bill boosting government spending on technology research and development amid rising competition from China and other nations.

The U.S. also is working on supply-chain issues meant to lessen the dependence on China. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has put on hold a case challenging Trump's TikTok divestment order. State media in China called Trump's tactics against TikTok "nothing short of broad daylight robbery".

USA officials have maintained that TikTok, WeChat and other Chinese-owned apps collect data that could be shared with China's authoritarian government.

In the summer of 2020, Donald Trump targeted TikTok, owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, and WeChat with a series of executive orders, that would have required Apple and Google to remove the app from their app stores, in effect preventing new users from downloading it.

"Our research shows that there is no overt data transmission to the Chinese government by TikTok", the report said.

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