President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday, Jan. 5, prohibiting the use of eight Chinese applications used for monetary transactions within the United States because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses private companies to spy on its users and collect personal data.
“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 president said.
He added that the CCP by accessing this sensitive information, can track federal employees and state contractors and eventually collect reports on them.
President Trump explained that by collecting all this personal data from U.S. users working for the government, the CCP is accessing confidential information to do economic harm to the United States.
The president used the three examples of cyberattacks from China in 2014, 2015, and 2017. In 2014, the president said, they hacked “the Office of Personnel Management of security clearance records of more than 21 million.”
In 2015 they attacked the health insurance company Athem, affecting 78 million Americans. “And the Department of Justice indicted members of the Chinese military for the 2017 Equifax cyber intrusion that compromised the personal information of almost half of all Americans.”
According to a previous report the Chinese Communist Party “legalized” the practice of spying on or collecting data from users through Chinese technology companies.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the president is taking all these measures.
On this occasion, the companies that the administration banned are Alipay, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office, and CamScanner, which, except for the last two, are applications for digital money transactions.
The executive order gives the Department of Commerce 45 days to implement the ban, although it is expected to take effect much sooner.
The ban means that digital companies cannot operate in the United States, although a federal judge would have to approve the measure.
In a similar instance, the administration requested a ban on the TikTok application but so far citing freedom of speech the federal court rejected the order.
“The United States must take aggressive action against those who develop or control Chinese connected software applications to protect our national security,” President Trump said.
Countries such as India, Trump said, have banned up to 200 Chinese applications for “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers, which have locations outside” the country.