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USA: President Biden rescinds executive orders banning Chinese apps

President Joseph R. Biden, announced, on 9 June 2021, that he had issued an Executive Order addressing the threat from certain connected software applications designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary, to include the People's Republic of China, among others. In particular, the President outlined that while there is a continued threat of certain connected software applications against national security, the federal Government should evaluate these threats through rigorous, evidence-based analysis and should address any unacceptable or undue risk consistent with overall national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives. Furthermore, the Executive Order highlights the potential indicators of risk relating to connected software applications, including:

  • ownership, control, or management by persons that support a foreign adversary's military, intelligence, or proliferation activities;
  • use of the connected software application to conduct surveillance that enables espionage, including through a foreign adversary's access to sensitive or confidential government or business information, or sensitive personal data;
  • ownership, control, or management of connected software applications by persons involved in malicious cyber activities;
  • a lack of thorough and reliable third-party auditing of connected software applications;
  • the scope and sensitivity of the data collected;
  • the number and sensitivity of the users of the connected software application; and
  • the extent to which identified risks have been or can be addressed by independently verifiable measures.

As such, the Executive Order revokes the following previous Presidential actions:

  • Executive Order 13942 of August 6, 2020 (Addressing the Threat Posed by TikTok, and Taking Additional Steps To Address the National Emergency With Respect to the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain);
  • Executive Order 13943 of August 6, 2020 (Addressing the Threat Posed by WeChat, and Taking Additional Steps To Address the National Emergency With Respect to the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain); and
  • Executive Order 13971 of January 5, 2021 (Addressing the Threat Posed by Applications and Other Software Developed or Controlled by Chinese Companies).

You can read the press release here and the executive order here.