2020 is turning out to be a bad year for TikTok and many other China apps. After getting scrutinized by the Indian government recently, TikTok is now facing a ban in the US alongside messaging app WeChat. Access to these popular apps will be restricted on Sunday after Trump administration's executive orders come into effect.
The Commerce Department announced the prohibitions on TikTok and WeChat in response to President Trump's Executive Orders signed August 6, 2020. The move is solely to safeguard the national security of the United States, the department said.
"Today's actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party," U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, said in a statement. "At the President's direction, we have taken significant action to combat China's malicious collection of American citizens' personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations."
Why is US banning WeChat, TikTok?
After citing reasons of national security to ban these Chinese apps, the Commerce Department elaborated further to state that both apps collect vast amounts of data, which includes network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories. What makes TikTok and WeChat dangerous besides collecting such sensitive information is the fact that they are obligated to co-operate with Chinese intelligence.
What is prohibited?
The Commerce Department has said that it is illegal to host or transfer internet traffic associated with WeChat beginning Sunday and for TikTok, the deadline is November 12. If TikTok is able to resolve the national security concerns by next month, the prohibitions may be lifted.