back to article Trump administration labels WeChat, TikTok ‘threats’ to national security, bans transactions with both

United States president Donald Trump has issued two executive orders banning Chinese messaging service WeChat and made-in-China-but-only-operating-abroad social network TikTok, and labelling the two a “threat”. The Executive Order on Addressing the Threat Posed by TikTok has the following to say about the app: TikTok …

  1. aaaa
    Unhappy

    i have an idea for an app

    why worry about Apple or Google putting you out of business by unilaterally removing your product (app) for sale from their walled gardens when the president of their country behaves exactly the same way. Nothing to see here congress...

    I'm actually quite a big fan of the Apple approach that Google has mimicked in recent years. But I'll gladly lose that to avoid political interference in app development.

    Time for Apple and Google to make a stand like they did against encryption backdoors and say they'll simply allow people to download and install apps from outside the app store.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: i have an idea for an app

      Er, Google already does.

      TikTok might go the route Epic Games did with Fortnite and provide an installer and instructions for sideloading, until they took that as far as they could and came across the barrier of non-technical users who were unable to do this and went crawling back to Google Play.

      Come to think of it, Epic is backed by Tencent. Things could get interesting for Fortnite players, people who use the Epic games store, and all those games publishers which use Unreal.

    2. J27 Bronze badge

      Re: i have an idea for an app

      China does this in their country to ALL foriegn apps. The US position is (still) a lot more friendly to Chinese apps than the Chinese government is to foreign apps.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: i have an idea for an app

        That's because the US claims to believe in freedom.

        If that translates into we'll treat them exactly how they treat us, that belief is meaningless.

  2. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Coat

    Wait, wait, wait ... Let me guess: Trump will drop the ban on WeChat if it is sold to an American company.

    1. UCAP
      Coat

      Only if Microsoft pay the huge bribe that he is demanding.

      1. Sanctimonious Prick
        Unhappy

        And that China agrees to and abides by any trade deal written up the US.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          They're just waiting for him to leave in November so the adults can come back in the room.

          1. UCAP

            Unfortunately it is the election in November (assuming that POTUS does not find some way of cancelling it), the change-over to the new President does not happen until January. Plenty of time to really throw the toys out of the pram and do some extreme damage to US interests.

            1. keith_w Bronze badge

              You are ignoring the possibility that Trump, having lost the election by a humongous amount of <mail-in> votes, actually concedes the election, and in desperation, resigns as President of the United States having obtained a promise of a pardon for federal crimes from President-not-elect Pence.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @AC - Actually I wouldn't hold my breath

            First of all, Donald trump will likely be re-elected (please note I happen to live outside US and I have no political affiliation).

            Second, there is a chance he might not want to go without a fight in case he loses.

            Third, even if the best, most reasonable person will become PotUS, it is very likely he wouldn't want to abandon the position of force the US has in this moment where they can dictate anything to the rest of the world and nobody (except China so far) would oppose.

  3. Shadow Systems Silver badge
    Joke

    The DeathStar analogy is apt...

    That would make Trump into Darth Vader & someone like Biden into Luke SkyWalker. I'll laugh my ass off if Biden flies an X-Wing up Trump's exhaust vent, blows his 'Star into so much space junk, and flies off to go do victory loops around a few battle cruisers in classic "Neener Neener Neener!"

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: The DeathStar analogy is apt...

      Why am I not surprised that the Trump administration likes the baddies in Star Wars? It's probably the authoritarianism and the gimp suit uniforms which do it for them.

      1. Mongrel

        Re: The DeathStar analogy is apt...

        Although Porkins does do a nice summation of the current administration

        "Stay on target... Stay on Target....***explosions***"

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: The DeathStar analogy is apt...

      Darth Vader?

      More like Daft Bleeder.

      His political manoeuvres are even less subtle, he is more a fan of Piranha Brothers tactics but without the sarcasm. Probably because he can't spell it.

    3. Bonzo_red

      Re: The DeathStar analogy is apt...

      I see him more as a Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz character myself.

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: The DeathStar analogy is apt...

        Please don't insult Vogon culture: Trump can not write poetry.

        1. Bonzo_red

          Re: The DeathStar analogy is apt...

          Are his tweets not poetry to you?

          1. G Watty What?

            Re: The DeathStar analogy is apt...

            They certainly make me want to gnaw off my own leg

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The DeathStar analogy is apt...

            When I am strangled by my own intestines I will let you know.

        2. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: The DeathStar analogy is apt...

          Please don't insult Vogon culture: Trump can not write poetry.

          Neither could the Vogons - it never stopped them.

          And lack of any ability at politics or diplomacy hasn't hampered Trump much either.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The DeathStar analogy is apt...

      "That would make Trump into Darth Vader"

      Well, they reckon their Deathstar is "firing on cylinders" implying the entire things is powered by an internal combustion engine, so that will need on hell of a huge exhaust port! Easy target!

    5. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: The DeathStar analogy is apt...

      More likely Biden would hear the election results and say "who's Joe Biden?" Then whatever puppetmaster has their hand up his ass would have to tell him yet again, for the 30th time that hour.

  4. DS999

    Trump is a moron

    Two 9/11s worth of people dying every week, and his response is to ban an app because kids sharing dance videos on a Chinese owned platform is a national emergency?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Trump is a moron

      It's CHY-nah's fault nobody wanted to come to his travelling shitshow when it landed on Tulsa, if he came to any other conclusion it might be an uncomfortable truth for him.

    2. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
      Flame

      National emergency...

      Russians mess with elections... no need for an emergency.

      Covid takes thousands of lives... no need for an emergency. And don't make me wear a mask!

      TikTok's 15 second clips might be used for blackmail or spying (why, how? Who cares, it's the usual narrative)... invoke draconian measures to shut it down!

      Or facilitate a cheap sale to a US company.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Or facilitate a cheap sale to a US company

        And don't forget the back-hander.

        1. not.known@this.address Silver badge

          Re: Or facilitate a cheap sale to a US company

          "And don't forget the back-hander."

          Or the Patriot Act-mandated back door opening straight into the offices at Langley.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Or facilitate a cheap sale to a US company

            >Russians mess with elections... no need for an emergency.

            Yes there is.

            You put a 10% tax on Canadian Aluminium "for national security" while allowing a Russian oligarch to buy a major American Aluminium company

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: National emergency...

        >Russians mess with elections... no need for an emergency

        If you want to know who's 'interfering' with the 2020 election you can finger people like Louis DeJoy. This Republican fund-raiser was recently installed as the head of the Post Office and immediately introduced work changes to the USPS that were ostensibly more "business efficient" but in practice immediately impacted the delivery of mail. Like systematic barring of voters, reduction in polling places and all the other good stuff that Republicans do to hold onto thei grip in marginal areas its all a strategic move to try to salvage what is shaping up to be a wipeout. There's nothing the Russians can do to influence this one way or another, although come to think of it if they offered logistics help and montitoring they'd probably be useful (if not at all welcome).

        Incidentally, our State Department has a budget to help influence elections in various parts of the world. But we're the good guys so I suppose its all right.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Trump is a moron

      Because kids sharing dance videos, ridiculing him and messing with his rally ticketing efforts on a Chinese owned platform is a national emergency.

      FTFY.

    4. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

      Re: Trump is a moron

      @DS999-

      ”[ban] ... because kids sharing dance videos on a Chinese owned platform is a national emergency?

      Almost. I think this temper tantrum is because teens allegedly colluded over TikTok to reserve tickets for Trump's Tulsa reelection rally and, obviously, not show up. He was apparently incandescent with rage that the venue wasn't packed with people.

      And here we are.

      1. Ruisert

        Re: Trump is a moron

        When he came to Dallas several months ago, I thought of reserving tickets and not showing up as well. But, turns out, if they have enough reservations, the tickets go to the people who actually show up. So the Tulsa debacle wasn't that the tickets were taken, it's that only a few outright idiots like the late Herman Cain thought it a good idea to come to a Covid-19 infection party. But of course, Twitler must have someone to blame for his own failures, always.

    5. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Trump is a moron

      Because his fans are idiots. It's about pandering to his lackeys - SHOW strength, rather than actuality being strong and showing leadership even when things aren't all gluing your way.

      It's Nero playing his fiddle while Rome burns. His morons think he is doing a good job (got that reply on YouTube forum) because he's using smoke and mirrors of distraction, "HILLARY!" and "TIKTOK!", and they're just too damn stupidto see though it. Or, more likely, not stupid, just don't care as well.

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: Trump is a moron

        "It's Nero playing his fiddle while Rome burns."

        Love that phrase as it's so incorrect. He actually was reputed to play the Lyre. Playing the fiddle would of been a tad difficult, considering it wasn't invented for several centuries after his death.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Trump is a moron

          Whoosh!

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Trump is a moron

      it sure did not take very long for the comment threads to devolve into a series of "Trump Hate" posts...

      Personally I think the data slurping itself should be GDPR'd out of existence for EVERYONE, _INCLUDING_ Fa[e]cebook and Tw[a,i]tter, but within the USA it would require Con-Grab [aka Congress] to enact such a law. Good luck with THAT happening with the current bunch.

      Whereas, foreign policy stuff is part of the Executive branch (aka Trump). My guess is that the current policy is a result of having asked nicely for China to STOP doing that, and they won't.

      But if I said that Trump was in favor of just STOPPING the data slurp, and is doing what he can do about it right now, would anyone BELIEVE that?

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Trump is a moron

        Here, have an upvote. I'm nit much of a fan of Donald Trump either, but his job is to be a thorn in **EVERYONE'S** side, and he's doing a good job at that. Seems right now we need to *continue* pissing everyone off, it's the only way to goad the lazy and/or corrupt Republicrats and Demopublicans.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Trump is a moron

        "But if I said that Trump was in favor of just STOPPING the data slurp, and is doing what he can do about it right now, would anyone BELIEVE that?"

        No.

    7. G.Y.

      wall Re: Trump is a moron

      The dead are already more than 2 Vietnam walls, will be more before we are done

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: wall Trump is a moron

        In the words of the great man, "it is what it is"

  5. xyz

    Look!! Bad foreigners...

    Forget all about that little COVID problem.

    1. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Look!! Bad foreigners...

      Yep, deflection tactics and nothing more. Every time there is bad news in the press for Trump (E.g. Biden leading the polls, or yesterday's legal threat to the NRA in New York) he takes aim at something else as a distraction.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Look!! Bad foreigners...

        The problem is that his fan base are people with short attention spans. They swallow his distractions hook, line, and sinker.

  6. Potemkine! Silver badge

    TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories

    I thought for half a quarter of second that Krusty Trump was pushing for an US version of the RGPD

    1. Grikath

      It's more like... What in that sentence does not describe most of the internet nowadays?

      Where's the ban on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. etc. etc........ ?

      After all, they do exactly the same, if not worse....

      1. Sanctimonious Prick
        Meh

        Exactly! The words used in those orders could easily be said about America and American tech companies.

      2. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
        Coat

        Where's the ban on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. etc. etc

        But if Trump bans Twitter then he won't be able to Tweet ... hang on, I think you're onto something.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Grikath - It is entirely moral and justified

        because we're doing it.

  7. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Trump plans to use his Death Star in a democratic election

    Rather than speculate about Trump's plans, perhaps we should wait until November and see what actually plays out.

    1. Sanctimonious Prick

      Re: Trump plans to use his Death Star in a democratic election

      Doesn't really matter how it plays out - the rest of the world will continue to laugh at America. Well, I will.

      1. not.known@this.address Silver badge

        Re: Doesn't really matter how it plays out...

        "...and the rest of the world laughing saying "What did he say?"..."

        I used to wonder which previous US President inspired that LP lyric - now I wonder if they were seeing the future!

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Trump plans to use his Death Star in a democratic election

        We laugh that we may not weep.

    2. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Trump plans to use his Death Star in a democratic election

      Should someone tell them that the Death Star was built by the baddies and destroyed by the goodies? I'm sure that Trump is more than happy to be cast as the evil emperor (with Pence in the Darth Vader role), but is that how they really want to seen?

      Spoiler alert: two death stars are destroyed by the rebels and the emperor and Vader end up dead.

      1. seven of five Silver badge

        Re: Trump plans to use his Death Star in a democratic election

        Spoiler Spoiler: Vader was redeemed and the Sidious reborn. It did significantly weaken the Sith, though.

        1. sabroni Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Trump plans to use his Death Star in a democratic election

          Spoiler Spoiler Spoiler: it's for children. Grow up.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Trump plans to use his Death Star in a democratic election

        > Death Star was built by the baddies and destroyed by the goodies?

        The Death Star was built by a strong leader who "drained the swamp" of the imperial senate.

        It was guarded by a bunch of masked and unidentifiable federal stormtroopers dressed in white, who carried lots of guns but never managed to shoot straight and was destroyed by a bunch of robe wearing religious nutters from a desert flying a plane into it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In fact, anything Chinese is banned

    Including food. From now it will be called Freedom takeaways...

  9. RobbieM
    Coat

    It is worth noting that 'they started it' as Google Twatter etc are banned in China.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      The difference is that the Chinese didn't just have a strop and ban them, They may have had a strop behind closed doors, but they used their actual laws, ie they have strict censorship laws which Google et al wouldn't or couldn't adhere to. You may or may not agree with the censorship laws in China, but they are the laws in place. AFAICIS, Trump is simply going after the Chinese companies "because he can", ie they are not breaking any existing US laws.

  10. xeroks

    entirely expected step towards the endo of the internet.

    It was more of a question of when than if the fragmentation of the internet would occur. This is just one of the steps that move us all in that direction.

    It's not hypocritical for the US to deny other countries access to the data they themselves access, it's just a recognition of the truth: data is king.

  11. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    Personally I wonder if Trump has taken this action because Sarah Cooper (the woman who lip-syncs his various interviews and speeches) uses it to publish her videos, and those kids effectively sabotaged one of his conferences using Tik Tok to arrange things.

    I believe he is narcissistic enough to do that using the excuse of national security.

    After all, if he was truly worried about national security, he'd stop all the technology companies outsourcing production to China.

    1. Alumoi

      Buddy, when's the last time you paid attention to your ordinary, daily used items? More than 80% are made in China.

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Two can play the sanctions game

    Does China wait until January or will it move in November?

  13. TheGriz
    FAIL

    Waiting for the Trump Executive Order Against Windows 10

    So how long before Microsoft and Windows 10 get an "Executive Order", they are slurping up just as much data as anyone else in the world.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Waiting for the Trump Executive Order Against Windows 10

      Separation of powers would require Congress to act. You can't just make capricious executive orders on U.S. citizens. For foreign policy it is different. That is the jurisdiction of the Executive branch.

  14. Nifty Silver badge

    Interesting to consider that standard Skype app is unavailable in Android or IOS app stores for Chinese registered phone. Instead you have to install a special Chinese version. You can but guess where the user metadata and intercepts end up when a Chinese Skype to Western Skype call is made. It's a complicated world.

  15. Rol Silver badge

    Sod Trumph/social misfit media. There's far more important stuff happening

    I work from home at the moment and unplug my PC's keyboard to use in the firms laptop, but the weirdest thing happened yesterday. When I went to plug the USB keyboard back into the PC it wouldn't go in, and so I swivelled it 180 and amazingly it went in. I was absolutely gobsmacked. And it didn't stop there. Oh no! The very same thing happened again just a few hours ago. Now how's that for defying the universal law of USB connectivity. Not once, but twice, it was the second attempt when it worked and not the third when you have turned it back to the first orientation that for some reason didn't go in.

    I pity the users of Lightening connectors, as they are missing out on all the fun.

  16. SuperGeek

    Wait, what?

    "further highlight the Trump administration’s unique governing style"

    Style? Where? Unique, yes, but in a baby throwing toys from pram kinda way!

  17. martinusher Silver badge

    Who knew that in a free country we had so few freedoms?

    It may have escaped the notice of people who aren't living in the US but our entire governemnt is currently run on an emergency basis using direct orders from the President. Its true that most of these orders fail when they get tested in the courts but the Administration has found a couple of ways to deal with this, starting with flat out ignoring the courts. (The Attorney General is supposed to keep the Administration on the right side of the law but Barr is one of the chief enablers of Trump at the moment so don't expect too much from the Justice Department.) Anyway, what Trump is doing is probably illegal but there's probably a fair bit of gray area and legal wiggle room to sow enough legal confusion to cause this diktat to become effectively law.

    One well known political figure who used a simple state of emergency law to change the entire political complexion of a country was Adolf Hitler. He became head of a minority government but due to the Depression and other emergencies, both real and manufacturered, he was able to get a law passed in the Reichstag that was call "An Act to Relieve the Distress of the Reich and the People". This, along with the compliance of the legal and law enforcment systems (taken over by party functionaries) allowed the governemnt to be ruled by a dictator. It wasn't a particluarly efficient government becuase it included a lot of 'friends and family' with plenty of personal enrichment. It did pass some racial purity laws, laws that were modelled on the Jim Crow laws prevalent in many parts of the US at the time. Anyway, you're all familiar with the history and as well all know (and we said then) "Of course, it can't happen here".

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    threats to national security

    Executive orders to ban TikTok and WeChat but Android phones with pre-installed malware distributed through the government funded Lifeline program is OK?

    Trump: "It's just poor people, who gives AF"

    https://securityaffairs.co/wordpress/105728/malware/pre-installed-malware-phone.html

  19. Sanguma Bronze badge

    Data silos here, data silos there, security like a hole in the head, WGAF

    Resident Rump the US Federal Secretary of Silly Tweets neither knows nor cares that which data silos the data ends up in, is by now largely immaterial. Various events prove that data silo security's about as strong as waterlogged toilet paper - it wouldn't surprise me if the NSA's data silos are about as well studied elsewhere as they are in the NSA's "Hallowed Halls" - ditto the rest of the US "Intelligence" community.

    Oh, but how the mighty have fallen, in the midst of slack overselfindulgent bouts of self-pity!

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