2020 saw the US government’s attempts to ban TikTok and WeChat blocked by the courts on the grounds of freedom of speech and now in 2021 eight more apps from Chinese developers have been targeted. The latest move from President Trump sees the signing of yet another Executive Order, this time to ban transactions with a range of popular apps such as Alipay, SHAREit, and WPS Office.
The apps targeted by the Executive Order are:
- WPS Office
- Tencent QQ
- WeChat Pay
- QQ Wallet
Reuters reports that the US government says that the apps “access and capture huge swathes of information from users, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information” via smartphones, tablets, and computers. And because the Chinese government is believed to have access to the personal data collected by the apps, the US has acted in what it believes are the interests of its population.
Naturally, the Chinese government denies any wrongdoing and says that the US government’s actions fly in the face of fair competition. Unlike WeChat and TikTok, apps such as CamScanner and Alipay “would struggle to bring a First Amendment Case” to stymie the ban. And despite the Order allowing a 45-day timeline to identify prohibited transactions with the affected apps, the Trump administration plans to implement it before January 20th.
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