By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Aug. 7: In an escalation of the ongoing US-China friction, the US President Donald Trump signed two executive orders prohibiting U.S. residents from doing business with the Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat apps, citing security risk of personal data of Americans. The orders will take affect in 45 days.
A Presidential directive accused the Chinese owned apps of gathering vast personal data of Americans that are potentially at the disposal of the Chinese government to be used for espionage or blackmail of users in the US. “These risks have led other countries, including Australia and India, to begin restricting or banning the use of WeChat. The United States must take aggressive action against the owner of WeChat to protect our national security,” Trump said.
He went on to cite similar moves by India, “The Government of India recently banned the use of TikTok and other Chinese mobile applications throughout the country; in a statement, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology asserted that they were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.”
Last month, the Government of India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology banned 59 Chinese Apps including the popular Tik Tok and We Chat, citing security concerns of data of users in the country.
TikTok, a video-sharing mobile application is owned by the Chinese company Byte Dance Ltd while Wechat is owned by China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. The affects of the move were apparent in the share market, erasing $ 30 million from the Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd ’s market value and sending the Yuan to its biggest slump in two weeks, according to Bloomberg.