After first going after TikTok, a new executive order signed by outgoing President Trump prohibits transactions in eight Chinese payment apps – but it seems unlikely to take effect …

The latest executive order bans the US use of Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office.

As with TikTok, the reasons given lead with unspecified concerns about national security.

I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, find that additional steps must be taken to deal with the national emergency with respect to the information and communications technology and services supply chain declared in Executive Order 13873 of May 15, 2019 (Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain).

Specifically, the pace and pervasiveness of the spread in the United States of certain connected mobile and desktop applications and other software developed or controlled by persons in the People’s Republic of China, to include Hong Kong and Macau (China), continue to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. At this time, action must be taken to address the threat posed by these Chinese connected software applications.

It goes on to suggest that the payment apps would allow China to build “dossiers” on government employees.

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. This 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.

However, it should be noted that the order takes effect 45 days after it was published, which would be long after Trump has left the White House. President-elect Biden assumes office on January 20.

It’s not known whether Biden will immediately undo the various executive orders issued by Trump, but this seems a likely bet.

Meanwhile, the White House seems to have mostly given up on the attempt to either ban or force the sale of TikTok. While some court actions remain pending, the Trump administration has so far twice extended last year’s original deadline of September 28, and allowed a third one to quietly lapse without any action.

Photo: Tabrez Syed on Unsplash

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