U.S. to ban 8 Chinese apps including CamScanner and SHAREit
After announcing a ban on all transactions with TikTok and WeChat last year, the US President has now signed another executive order to ban eight more Chinese apps in the country. The latest ban order targets a few widely-used apps, including Alipay, CamScanner, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, and WPS Office.
According to a recent report from Reuters, the executive order aims to curb the threat to Americans posed by Chinese apps that have large user bases and access to sensitive data. The order alleges that the aforementioned apps can “access and capture vast swaths of information from users, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information” by “accessing personal electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers.” It further adds that such data collection “threatens to provide the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — which would permit China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, and build dossiers of personal information.”
In response to the latest ban, China’s Ministry of Commerce said that the US Government’s actions go against fair competition and they harm the interest of Chinese companies and their customers, including those in the US. While most of the apps targeted with the latest ban didn’t comment on the matter, WPS Office’s parent company Kingsoft said that it did not expect the order to impact the company’s business in the short term.
It’s worth noting that although courts have blocked the ban order against TikTok and WeChat on freedom of speech grounds, the apps included in the latest executive order may not receive such a benefit. As Reuters points out, apps like Alipay and CamScanner “would struggle to bring a First Amendment case” to block the ban. On the contrary, the US Commerce Department plans to identify prohibited transactions with these apps before January 20th, despite the fact that the ban order lays out a 45-day timeline.