Biden Signed An Executive Order on Protecting Americans’ Sensitive Data from Foreign Adversaries But Rescinded Trump’s TikTok and WeChat Threats

CITY OF WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 8, 2021)—today President  Joe Biden signed an Executive Order on Protecting Americans’ Sensitive Data from Foreign Adversaries. Biden renewed former President Donald J. Trump’s   measures which addressed “the national emergency with respect to the information and communications technology and services supply chain that  Trump  declared in Executive Order 13873 of May 15, 2019 (Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain).”

The order “increase use in the United States of certain connected software applications designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned or controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of, a foreign adversary, which the Secretary of Commerce acting pursuant to Executive Order 13873 has defined to include the People’s Republic of China, among others, continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

Biden said “The Federal Government should evaluate these threats through rigorous, evidence-based analysis and should address any unacceptable or undue risks consistent with overall national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives, including the preservation and demonstration of America’s core values and fundamental freedoms.”

Biden added “by operating on United States information and communications technology devices, including personal electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, connected software applications can access and capture vast swaths of information from users, including United States persons’ personal information and proprietary business information. 

Added by Biden ‘”This data collection threatens to provide foreign adversaries with access to that information.  Foreign adversary access to large repositories of United States persons’ data also presents a significant risk.” 

Biden said “the ongoing emergency declared in Executive Order 13873 arises from a variety of factors, including the continuing effort of foreign adversaries to steal or otherwise obtain United States persons’ data.”

Protecting Against The Risk:

  • To address this threat, the United States must act to protect against the risks associated with connected software applications that are designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned or controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of, a foreign adversary.
  • The United States seeks to promote accountability for persons who engage in serious human rights abuse. If persons who own, control, or manage connected software applications engage in serious human rights abuse or otherwise facilitate such abuse, the United States may impose consequences on those persons in action separate from this order. 

Biden revoked former President Trump’s “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).” Biden ordered the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the heads of executive departments and agencies (agencies) to immediately rescind Trump’s orders.

Read the entire Executive Order here.

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