Two weeks before the end of his term in office, US President Trump is launching a new attack on apps from China. It bans eight applications by decree, including the payment services Alipay and WeChat Pay. A burden for Biden’s successor.
After his failed attack on the TikTok video portal, the outgoing US President Donald Trump has targeted other apps from China in the last few days of his term of office. The eight applications to be pushed out of the US market include the payment services “Alipay” and “WeChat Pay”.
Trump issued a decree prohibiting business with the apps with the usual 45-day delay. The government justified the measure by saying that these apps could be misused for espionage purposes. User data could therefore be forwarded to the government in Beijing. The White House therefore sees these apps as a threat to “national security”.
Fight against “digital totalitarianism”
Trump has also instructed the US Department of Commerce to find other potentially dangerous apps, said a senior government official. Private information from the devices could flow into “global suppression” databases, he warned. Trump is fighting against “digital totalitarianism”.
The current president had already tried to force a sale of at least the US business of the popular video app TikTok to American companies through bans. But first the Chinese government torpedoed the talks with sales restrictions for the corresponding software. Subsequently, US judges ruled that the Trump administration did not have a sufficient legal basis for its actions. The Tiktok bans are therefore on hold. Trump’s attempt to ban the WeChat messenger app in the USA was also stopped by a US court.
Allegedly high risk apps
In addition to the popular payment services, the apps now affected include the scan application CamScanner, the Tencent QQ chat service, the VMate video app and the WPS Office software. According to the Trump administration, the apps with the highest risk were selected for the list. Further details on the criteria were not given.
In US courts, the White House could be more successful in cracking down on most of these apps than it was in the TikTok and WeChat cases. Because there the judges found the obstruction of the free flow of information and a restriction of the freedom of speech problematic.
China’s Foreign Ministry has already announced “necessary measures” to safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese companies.
Another construction site for Biden
On January 20, Donald Trump will no longer be US President with the inauguration of his designated successor, Joe Biden. Then it will be for Biden’s government to implement or repeal the edict. A government official said the ban on the apps had not been discussed with the “potential” Biden government.