Last Wednesday, Michael Pompeo announced that the administration is taking the necessary steps to implement a so-called “clean network,” wherein most American companies strip off or restrict China-owned applications or technologies. According to Pompeo, there are five areas they wish to limit and clear of Chinese tech: undersea internet cables, app stores, cloud services, applications, and mobile services.
This decision stems from the U.S. government thinking that any Chinese tech company is a risk or threat to national security. Also, it’s a way for the administration to somewhat get back at China for its recent issues with the South China Sea as well as Beijing’s imposition of restriction on Hong Kong.
Pompeo even stressed that other “freedom-loving nations” should undergo the clean network program further to diminish the utilization of Chinese creators and providers. In another interview with Fox News, the U.S. Secretary of State accused Chinese companies that create or provide software programs and are located within the U.S. to get information from the people and send it to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party).
In a bid to help and “protect American citizens’ most sensitive information,” the Trump administration plans to ban Chinese-made applications such as TikTok and WeChat. They want altogether to remove popular Chinese-made apps from every user’s smartphones. Numerous government officials and politicians have stated that using these apps is an enormous threat to national security, considering that there is a rift between the two countries.
Unless an American company buys TikTok, the President remains firm on his plans. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, may be forced to sell the app to Microsoft. However, when asked for a comment, a TikTok representative stated that user data of Americans is stored in the U.S., adding that there are strict protocols on employee access. Other companies such as Huawei, Alibaba, and Tencent did not respond when asked for comments.
An analyst from Eurasia Group analysts said that although there are Chinese versions of the famous TikTok and WeChat applications, it still has ties with China. The report noted that Americans who use WeChat could “communicate with users on Weixin, which uses servers based in China.” Although WeChat users can send information to Weixin users, it still depends on Chinese law whether they’re allowed to view it.