TikTok quietly changed U.S. privacy policies days ahead of Biden executive order

But President Biden has ordered a new Commerce Department review of security concerns posed by the apps

The new executive order calls for the Commerce Department and other federal agencies to develop guidelines "to protect sensitive personal data. including personally identifiable information and genetic information" from misuse.

As per the order, criteria for apps that could pose a heightened risk include when "transactions involve applications that are owned, controlled, or managed by persons that support foreign adversary military or intelligence activities, or are involved in malicious cyber activities, or involve applications that collect sensitive personal data".

The new administration's framework to evaluate apps will be flexible, allowing it to take a tailored approach that addresses the specific risks of each company, one U.S. official said.

The new executive order is created to replace the Trump administration's approach targeting individual companies with a broader process for reviewing risks posed by apps that are connected to potentially hostile countries, according to senior Biden administration officials. The White House remains very concerned about the data risks of TikTok users, another administration official told reporters.

"This data collection threatens to provide foreign adversaries with access to that information", he said.

TikTok did not offer comment on the news.

The Trump administration's attempted bans didn't hold up legally as courts blocked them, and also "ran up against this critique that they were mimicking China's Great Firewall", said Samm Sacks, a fellow at Yale Law School's Paul Tsai China Center.

Travel restrictions still in place for those wanting to travel to Canada
Trudeau has mentioned a 75% vaccination rate as a key threshold when asked about potentially reopening the border. Doing so, they said, "would sustain jobs, boost business confidence and allow more families to reunite".

"Certain countries, including the People's Republic of China (PRC), do not share these values and seek to leverage digital technologies and Americans' data in ways that present unacceptable national security risks while advancing authoritarian controls and interests".

But the apps are "not out of the woods yet", said James Lewis, who heads technology policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and has been in discussions with White House officials in both administrations about the future of the apps.

Last year, the Trump administration brokered a deal that would have had US corporations Oracle and Walmart take a large stake in the Chinese-owned app on national security grounds.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill that aims to boost USA semiconductor production and the development of artificial intelligence and other technology in the face of growing worldwide competition. CapCut, a video-editing app also owned by ByteDance app, has seen a surge in downloads in the USA recently.

The order replaces former President Donald Trump's actions, aimed specifically at Chinese companies including TikTok owner ByteDance Ltd and WeChat owner Tencent Holdings Ltd, that tried to ban the use of those apps in the US. The Trump administration also attempted to prevent those apps from operating within the United States, but ongoing court challenges prevented most of those orders from going into effect, the Verge reported. It added that TikTok's service did not contact any servers within China, but it was still theoretically possible that servers outside China could later transfer user data to China-based servers.

"Our research shows that there is no overt data transmission to the Chinese government by TikTok", the report said.

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