The outgoing Trump administration has banned some Chinese apps including Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, WeChat, WPS Office Pay, and VMate from the US app stores. The implication of the ban is that no person in the US will be able to transact business with the aforementioned apps.
The affected apps will no longer be available on the Play Store and the App Store in the US while the ban lasts. According to the Executive Order, the affected apps have been banned for their potential ability to gather sensitive or private data from users, including from federal employees and contractors:
“The United States has assessed that a number of Chinese connected software applications automatically capture vast swaths of information from millions of users in the United States, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information, which would allow the PRC and CCP access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.”
Close to 60 Chinese apps were last year banned by India for similar reasons. The ban, which is still in place, affected several known and popular apps such as TikTok and WeChat.
India announced that TikTok and 58 other apps will no longer be allowed to work in the country. The country announced this in a press release; a move unprecedented in the history of what now looks like a cold war between India and China.
In the press release, India’s Ministry of Information Technology said the said apps “are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”
TikTok is used by over 200 million people in India, and is the biggest loser in the move made by the India government.
TikTok, which perhaps seems to be the biggest losers in all of these, suffered a major blow last February when Transportation Security Administration told its employees to stop using the app. This came weeks after the army banned the use of TikTok on government owned phones. TSA told users to stop using the Chinese-owned app to create social media posts for the agency.
Considering the popularity of the app among teens in the US, the government launched a national security review. This prompted New York Senator Chuck Schumer to send a letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske over the weekend.
In a statement per CBS News, the TSA said “small number of TSA employees have previously used TikTok on their personal devices to create videos for use in TSA’s social media outreach, but that practice has since been discontinued.”