U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese apps, including WeChat Pay and AliPay (via Reuters).
The order prohibits all U.S. transactions with the companies behind the apps, the full list of which includes Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office.
The order tasks the Commerce Department with defining which transactions will be banned under the directive within 45 days, but a U.S. official told Reuters that the Commerce Department plans to act before January 20, when Trump leaves office.
“By accessing personal electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, Chinese connected software applications can access and capture vast swaths of information from users, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information,” the executive order states.
Such data collection “would permit China to track the locations of federal employees and contractors, and build dossiers of personal information,” the document adds.
The named apps are extremely popular with Chinese mobile device users, and if the order was successful, the bans would be a significant blow to Chinese Americans who use apps like WeChat to communicate with Chinese citizens.
The new orders are in addition to two earlier ones signed by Trump in August that attempted to ban transactions with WeChat and TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance. The first order was blocked by a judge in September and then again in October, while a preliminary injunction granted by another judge in December prevented the TikTok ban from going ahead.
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