U.S. agency issues initial recommendations on app data security to White House
The U.S. Commerce Department said on Tuesday that it has submitted a first set of recommendations on data security under an executive order signed by President Joe Biden.
In June, Biden withdrawn a series of Trump-era executive orders that sought to ban new downloads of WeChat and TikTok, and ordered 'a Commerce Department review of security concerns posed by those apps'.
Commerce was ordered to make recommendations by last Thursday to safeguard U.S. data obtained or accessible by foreign adversaries in the event of the order.
"The Department provided an initial set of recommendations to the administrations top national security advisers," according to a Commerce spokesperson.
The administration of former president Donald Trump had attempted to halt new users from downloading the apps and ban other technical transactions that Chinese-owned short video-sharing app TikTok and WeChat both claimed would effectively restrict the applications' use in the United States.
Courts in the United States blocked those judgments, which never took effect.
The Trump administration claimed that WeChat and TikTok posed national security risks because sensitive personal data of American users could be collected by Chinas government.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio asked the Commerce Department for an update "on recommendations the U.S. Department of Commerce is obligated to produce on how to protect Americans data in the wake of President Biden's decision to revoke the ban on these harmful apps and their continued operation in America."
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told reporters last month that the administration is "very serious about protecting Americans' data" and that it was working with allies.
"That's really hard work," Raimondo said. "Doing some executive order that's meaningless on TikTok isn't the way to go."
TikTok has over 100 million users in the United States. Rubio asked what steps is Commerce taking to ensure that such sensitive information does not end up in Beijings possession.
A separate review of TikTok launched in late 2019 by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, according to a White House official in June, denying to give any further details.
Biden's executive order lifted the WeChat and TikTok orders Trump issued in August 2020, as well as another in January targeting eight other communications and financial technology software applications.