President Trump has signed a new executive order prohibiting transactions with the companies behind eight Chinese apps, including Ant Group’s Alipay and Tencent’s QQ and WeChat Pay. “The pace and pervasiveness of the spread in the United States of certain connected mobile and desktop applications and other software developed or controlled by persons in the People’s Republic of China... continue to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” the order reads.
When Trump made those orders, he had labelled the Chinese apps as national security threats with respect to information and communications technology, and services supply chain. In addition to being a replacement of Trump's executive orders, the new directive also sets new criteria that the Commerce Department must use to review whether apps tied to foreign adversaries pose an "unacceptable risk," according to a White House fact sheet.
On January 5, 2021, President Trump signed an executive order (EO) prohibiting U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with eight “connected software applications” developed or controlled by Chinese companies. As justification for this action, the executive order states that “the pace and pervasiveness of the spread in the United States of certain connected mobile and desktop applications and other software developed or controlled by persons in the People’s Republic of China [PRC], to include Hong Kong and Macau (China), continue to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.” Specifically, “[t]he United States has assessed that a number of Chinese connected software applications automatically capture vast swaths of information from millions of users in the United States, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information, which would allow the PRC and [the Chinese Communist Party] access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.”.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese software applications, including Ant Group’s Alipay mobile payment app, the White House said, escalating tensions with Beijing two weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. It also harms the interests of Chinese companies and their customers, including those in the United States, who had “widely welcomed” the apps as a contactless payment option during the pandemic, the ministry added.
The White House is confident the new restrictions will stand up to judicial scrutiny, since applications like Alipay would struggle to bring a First Amendment case, the senior administration official told Reuters. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement that he supports Trump’s “commitment to protecting the privacy and security of Americans from threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party.”.
Reuters reported in November that the U.S. State Department had submitted a proposal to add Ant Group to a trade blacklist in order to deter U.S. investors from taking part in its lucrative initial public offering. The White House unveiled an executive order in November banning U.S. investment in alleged Chinese military companies including China’s top chipmaker SMIC and oil giant CNOOC.
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, find that it is appropriate to elaborate upon measures to address the national emergency with respect to the information and communications technology and services supply chain that was declared in Executive Order 13873 of May 15, 2019 (Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain). Specifically, the increased use in the United States of certain connected software applications designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned or controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of, a foreign adversary, which the Secretary of Commerce acting pursuant to Executive Order 13873 has defined to include the People’s Republic of China, among others, continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.
The Federal Government should evaluate these threats through rigorous, evidence-based analysis and should address any unacceptable or undue risks consistent with overall national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives, including the preservation and demonstration of America’s core values and fundamental freedoms. Foreign adversary access to large repositories of United States persons’ data also presents a significant risk. The ongoing emergency declared in Executive Order 13873 arises from a variety of factors, including the continuing effort of foreign adversaries to steal or otherwise obtain United States persons’ data.
To address this threat, the United States must act to protect against the risks associated with connected software applications that are designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned or controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of, a foreign adversary. (a) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the heads of executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall promptly take steps to rescind any orders, rules, regulations, guidelines, or policies, or portions thereof, implementing or enforcing Executive Orders 13942, 13943, or 13971, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, including the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C.
In addition, any personnel positions, committees, task forces, or other entities established pursuant to Executive Orders 13942, 13943, or 13971 shall be abolished, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law. (c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Samm Sacks, a cybersecurity policy and China digital economy fellow at the New America think tank, said it was unlikely that many of the apps included in the executive order handled much data belonging to American citizens. “Even if his team doesn’t buy the national security risk, politically the order will be tough to unwind without looking like a concession to Beijing.
On January 5, 2021, President Trump issued an Executive Order prohibiting transactions “with persons that develop or control” eight “Chinese connected software applications”, including Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office (the “order” or the “EO”). A provision in the order suggests that additional software applications may become subject to the prohibitions as the order directs the Commerce Secretary “to continue to evaluate Chinese connected software applications that may pose an unacceptable risk to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States, and to take appropriate action . Specifically, the order describes the threat posed by the use of these apps: the collection of sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) made accessible to the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). According to the order, the concern – similar to that set forth in the WeChat and TikTok executive orders – extends beyond the ability of the apps to track Federal employees and contractors to the millions of users in the United States, whose use of the apps “would allow the PRC and CCP access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.”.
The order also cites the PRC’s and CCP’s “intent to use bulk data collection to advance China’s economic and national security agenda”, as demonstrated through the 2014 cyber intrusions of the Office of Personnel Management, the 2015 breach of the health insurance company Anthem, and the Department of Justice’s indictment of members of the Chinese military for the 2017 Equifax cyber intrusion. The term “foreign adversaries” is not defined in the EO, and the report could therefore touch broader group of nations than the China-specific elements of the current order. This includes, but is not limited to: (1) an Executive Order issued in November 2020 that prohibits certain investments in designated Chinese companies with military ties; (2) expanded export controls (e.g., Entity List designations) of several of the entities on the list; (3) the Clean Network initiative’s targeting of Huawei; (4) recent restrictions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that prohibit the use of universal service funds to purchase Huawei and ZTE equipment; (5) additional action by the FCC regarding several Chinese-owned telecoms, including China Mobile and China Telecom, both of which were named as Communist Chinese military companies by the Department of Defense and subject to Executive Order 13959; (6) a set of executive orders in August that targeted the mobile applications TikTok and WeChat (the Department of Commerce’s implementing rules have been temporarily enjoined by court order); and (7) the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’ (CFIUS) rejection of several transactions involving Chinese-owned companies as part of a stricter approach towards Chinese investment in the United States.