President Donald Trump has issued an executive order essentially banning a host of Chinese-connected software applications, including Alipay and Wechat, saying the ban targeted apps that "access and capture vast swaths of information from users, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information," by accessing smartphones, computers and tablets.
The move is tied to the National Emergency related to the communications and information supply chain, and the threat of some mobile and desktop apps developed or controlled by China.
"The continuing activity of the [Peoples Republic of China] and the [Chinese Communist Party] to steal or otherwise obtain United States persons' data makes clear that there is an intent to use bulk data collection to advance China's economic and national security agenda."
The app-related transactions prohibited by the order apply to Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office, but also directs the Secretary of Commerce to evaluate other apps that may also pose unacceptable risks.
"This executive order tasks the Secretary of Commerce to identify prohibited transactions involving eight Chinese software applications, including payment services; directs the Secretary of Commerce to identify and take appropriate action against other software applications; and develops a program to control the export of exploitable United States user data to foreign adversaries," said National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien. "President Trump continues to prioritize the safety and security of the United States homeland and the American people."
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