The US ban on TikTok might be on hold amid a possible buyout, but the government wants to crack down on other ‘untrusted’ Chinese apps. Last night, Secretary of StateMike Pompeo penned a statement with a vision of a ‘clean network’ to protect America’s interest.
He said he’s opening up five new lines of initiatives to protect the county’s telecommunication network from the threat of the mighty Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Those five lines include Clean Carrier, Clean Store, Clean Apps, Clean Cloud, and Clean Cable.
With the Clean Carrier policy, Pompeo wants to keep Chinese network companies out of the US networks. Clean Store and Clean Apps initiative signal towards booting out untrustworthy and potentially dangerous apps from phones of folks in the US. Clean Cloud is aimed towards keeping the cloud data out of reach from the Chinese companies. And finally, Clean Cable policy is to ensure that China is not spying on the country by sabotaging undersea cables.
Pompeo aims to keep Chinese tech out of the US network and boot out apps that are a threat to users’ data security and privacy. The government has already taken some steps towards doing it by putting companies such as Huawei under the entity list last year.
Last year, after Google stopped Huawei from using Play Store, the Chinese tech giant had to build its own app store. Now, Pompeo is urging the US and foreign companies to remove their apps from that store so as to ensure “they are not partnering with a human rights abuser.”
The Secretary of State also wants to prevent usage of cloud services that might be hosted by or accessible to Chinese firms Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent (which may be linked to the CCP). He made a point that sensitive data including COVID-19 vaccine research shouldn’t reach foreign adversaries. This may be a bit counterintuitive during the pandemic as researchers across the globe have opened up their datasets for worldwide collaboration.
Until now, the world has mostly talked about the “Great Chinese Firewall” as a major initiative to block access to foreign apps for an entire nation.. However, Pompeo’s new project can also be seen as a semi-transparent US firewall.
U.S. sort-of-firewall goes up. Chinese telcos, cloud providers are blocked. Chinese apps are kicked out of app stores. Submarine data traffic will get a look. U.S. app makers are instructed not to put apps on Huawei's store. 1/2https://t.co/2hLacc29z5
— Pete Sweeney (@petesweeneypro) August 5, 2020
The US is not the only country doing this. Last month, India banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok and WeChat for allegedly putting users’ data security at risk. The country has banned more Chinese apps in the past few weeks, with the authorities barring Mi Browser Pro and Baidu search yesterday. Last month, Pompeo even praised India’s decision to boot out these apps.
You can read more about Pompeo’s ‘Clean’ initiative here.