On Friday morning, the United States Department of Commerce announced the prohibition of WeChat and TikTok transactions beginning September 20.
Starting Sunday, United States residents will not be able to download or update their TikTok or WeChat apps. For WeChat, this includes the transfer or processing of any money.
The decision comes in light of President Donald Trump’s August 6 executive order for the U.S. to “take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security.” Trump says that the data TikTok collects from its users “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.”
Data storage is a precedented tactic
While the collection of personal data is concerning, the practice is nothing new. According to NBC News, the kind of information TikTok stores is typical for phone apps to track. What’s more, this data is “bought and sold on a daily basis in markets that China has access to.”
Leaked documents to Business Insider also show that TikTok can tell law enforcement a user’s name, phone number, IP address, and so on. However, this policy is typical of most major tech companies. What was new from the documents was insight on how the information gathering process works.
Unlike WeChat, TikTok will be allowed to operate until November 12. Come September 20, it is assumed WeChat will no longer work, as the Department of Commerce forbid “any provision of internet hosting services enabling” its function or optimaization.
The November 12 deadline leaves TikTok’s fate up in the air. Between now and then, the presidential election will occur and a possible partnership with Oracle may go through.