By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON: The Biden administration is holding talks among federal agencies about the security of Americans’ data and whether the U.S. government has the right tools.
In June, President Joe Biden withdrew a series of Trump-era executive orders to ban new downloads of Chinese-owned WeChat and TikTok and ordered a Commerce Department review of security concerns posed by those apps. .
The order set a deadline of December 6 for Commerce, in consultation with other government agencies, to submit a report on “additional executive and legislative measures to address the risk associated with connected software applications” that are acquired or accessible by companies controlled or based in countries considered to be foreign adversaries.
A White House official confirmed to Reuters that the Commerce and Homeland Security departments and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence “have submitted an initial round of analysis and recommendations” in connection with the order, without providing any details.
The official added that “the administration is now engaged in interagency deliberations to ensure that relevant departments and agencies have the tools, authorities and resources to protect sensitive Americans’ data.” The administration has not released any of the findings.
On November 26, the Commerce Department proposed to amend regulations on information and communications technology supply chains to provide additional criteria for implementing Biden’s decree and determining whether connected software applications present unacceptable risks.
The Commerce Department said in October that it had met a separate deadline to make recommendations to protect U.S. data.
Former President Donald Trump’s administration has sought to prevent new users from downloading Chinese apps and to ban other technical transactions that TikTok and WeChat believe could effectively block the use of the apps in the United States.
US courts blocked these orders, which never took effect.
The Trump administration has claimed that WeChat and TikTok pose national security concerns because sensitive personal data of US users could be collected by the Chinese government. China and Apps have denied any misuse of US data.