Q&A: What’s up with President Trump’s orders on TikTok & WeChat?

Time could be ticking for Americans using TikTok and WeChat.

President Donald Trump has ordered a sweeping but vague ban on dealings with the Chinese owners of popular apps TikTok and WeChat, saying they are a threat to U.S. national security, foreign policy and the economy.

But it’s far from clear what the administration intends to actually do when the bans take effect in 45 days, since the orders are currently blank checks waiting to be filled in. Uncertainty also surrounds what effect the orders will have on the apps’ users, whether the administration will face legal challenges over its authority to ban consumer apps, and what the companies — or China — will do next. Microsoft is in talks to buy parts of TikTok, in a potential sale that’s being forced under Trump’s threat of a ban.

The order reads in part: “This mobile application may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party… The United States must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security.”

TikTok’s privacy policy claims the data it collects include IP addresses, location, browsing and search history, and cookies. Those are things other commonly used apps collect.

News4Jax spoke with Andrew von Ramin Mapp, the managing principal for Cyber Centarus, a consulting firm that specializes in data breach investigations.

“The concern is really more so (that) when that data has been collected who potentially has access to it,” Ramin Mapp said.

NPR reports that the app in time may not be updated and eventually not work.


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