Pompeo Calls on U.S. App Stores to Remove Chinese Apps
What’s new: The U.S. government told American companies to purge Chinese apps and technology on a range of fronts, alleging that they pose “significant threats” to the personal data of American citizens and spread viruses and disinformation.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced an expansion of the Trump administration’s “Clean Network” program, which would tell U.S. firms to remove “untrusted” Chinese apps like TikTok and WeChat from the country’s app stores.
The new rules would also seek to restrict Chinese cloud service providers including Tencent Holding Ltd., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Baidu Inc. from collecting, storing and processing the data of U.S. citizens.
The background: The announcement, billed as a plan to “protect America’s critical telecommunications and technology infrastructure,” marks a significant escalation of the attacks on Chinese tech and telecommunications, which have been a theme of the Trump administration.
Beijing’s ByteDance Ltd., the owner of Tiktok, is currently in talks with Microsoft Corp. to sell a large portion of its overseas operations after U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would block the app by Sept. 15 if it does not do so.
The move follows a decision by the Indian government to ban 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat.
Meanwhile Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison appeared to rule out a ban on Tiktok Tuesday, telling a U.S. security forum that there was “no evidence” the app was a threat to Australia’s security interests, though he warned that it “connects right back to China.”
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