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U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Sanctions Against TikTok, WeChat

The U.S. Department of Commerce Friday announced prohibitions on transactions relating to mobile apps WeChat and TikTok.  The order is an enforcement of President Donald Trump’s executive orders issued in August.

Beginning Sept. 20, The following transactions will be prohibited:

  • Any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store in the U.S.;
  • Any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S.

Additional prohibitions for WeChat (Sept, 20) and TikTok (Nov. 12), according to Commerce:

  •     Any provision of internet hosting services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S.
  •     Any provision of content delivery network services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S..
  •     Any provision directly contracted or arranged internet transit or peering services enabling the function or optimization of the mobile application within the U.S..
  •     Any utilization of the mobile application’s constituent code, functions, or services in the functioning of software or services developed and/or accessible within the U.S.

“While the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok are not identical, they are similar,” the order reads. “Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories. Each is an active participant in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP.  This combination results in the use of WeChat and TikTok creating unacceptable risks to our national security.”

The notices for these actions have been recorded in the Federal Register this morning.

This story is developing…

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