JOINT REPORT OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY, TECHNOLOGY, AND LAW WORKING GROUP AT THE HOOVER INSTITUTION AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY AND THE TECH, LAW & SECURITY PROGRAM AT AMERICAN UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF LAW
In the fall of 2020, the Trump administration issued dual executive orders designed to effectively ban TikTok and WeChat from operating in the United States, at least in their current forms. In January 2021 it did the same with respect to Alipay and seven other Chinese-owned apps. These actions came against the background of years of executive orders and rules aimed at limiting the reach of China-based technology firms. Each of these actions was based, in significant part, on assertions of national security. Going forward, the US government has an urgent need for smart policies and practices to respond to China’s growing tech sector and the spread of China-controlled platforms. The Biden administration will have to decide what to do about TikTok and WeChat. It also will need to develop a broader US strategy for addressing the range of security risks (e.g., economic, national security, cybersecurity) and threats to civil liberties posed by the spread of China-developed and -controlled technologies.