Donald Trump continues to shake up the technological news in his complicit between the United States and China. After warning that it would ban TikTok, in the last hours it has signed a new executive order that directly affects the popular music application, but also the largest Chinese messaging application, such as WeChat.
Trump will ban TikTok in the United States today
TikTok, the popular Chinese social network, is going to be banned in the United States by order of Donald Trump with a document that he has announced that he will sign today.
Trump’s executive order has five key goals in what they have termed the clean grid project (Clean Network), a project that aims to «Safeguard the goods of America» , according to the White House.
But what does the expansion of this project consist of? How does it affect us? What future awaits us as Android users? We analyze some of the key aspects.
The Clean Network order
The United States Government has detailed a few hours ago a plan that goes beyond the quarrels they already had against Huawei and extends it to practically any company from China that operates in the United States or does business with any Chinese company.
This plan is called Clean Network and in essence it aims to clean the American networks of untrustworthy companies or agents of the PRC (People’s Republic of China). This new order consists of 5 new points.
- Operator cleaning: To ensure that unreliable PRC operators are not connected to telecommunications networks. These companies serve a national security hazard and should not provide international telecommunication services to and from the United States.
- Store cleaning: Remove untrustworthy apps from US app stores. PRC apps threaten our privacy, spread viruses, and spread propaganda and misinformation. The personal and professional information of Americans must be protected.
- Cleaning applications: To prevent untrusted RPC manufacturers from pre-installing or making trusted applications available in their app stores. These companies should remove their apps from the Huawei app store.
- Cloud cleaning: To prevent the most sensitive information of Americans, including the intellectual property of COVID-19 vaccines, from being stored and processed in systems accessible to our foreign adversaries through companies such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent.
- Cable cleaning: To ensure that the marine cables connected to the global internet are not subverted by PRC intelligence.
The most direct consequences of the veto
After detailing the government’s plans in a general way, we have found the first victims of Trump’s new veto against China.
The first we had already seen coming a few days ago, and that is that last week Trump stated that they were thinking of vetoing the TikTok application of ByteDance from the United States. A week later he has signed the order, which will take effect within 45 days.
Tencent has also been another company affected by Trump’s decisions, and that is that the WeChat messaging application will also disappear from the United States in 45 days. In the particular case of Tencent, this order has been made explicitly on WeChat (an application that recognizes transferring your data to governments) and will not affect popular games such as League of Legends (Tencent owns 100% of Riot Games) or Fortnite ( again, Tencent owns 40% of Epic Games) as our colleagues at Omicrono say.
A potential long-term hazard
Beyond the imminent prohibitions, this new order can cause a lot of damage to Android’s health in the long term, and it is that some aspects of this order can destabilize this order worldwide. Point 2, in particular, has great danger.
The fact that the United States has the power to remove applications from American stores (Google Play and the Apple Store) implies that at any given time, a European user cannot download an application from China because they are entering an American store. The safest thing is that the application will only disappear from the catalog shown in the United States, but since it is not specific enough, it could change from one day to the next.
The third point goes directly to Huawei, and that is that it directly urges American companies to remove their applications from the Huawei store and that those who have not uploaded their applications do not.
After having withdrawn all possible negotiations between Google and Huawei, this new imposition is another stone on the roof of the Chinese manufacturer. Beyond big technology, it also leaves out so many other American developers out of the game for which it tries to position itself as an alternative to the Apple Store.
What if tomorrow was Xiaomi?
For the government to create a plan to “clean up” their prized assets by eliminating competition simply because they are “Chinese companies they don’t trust” is a huge risk. And if tomorrow they decide the same for Xiaomi, last for Oppo and so on with each Chinese manufacturer? It is a risk that has been talked about for some time and that is now re-emerging.
Such protectionist measures can backfire in the long run for Android, which is dominated by American software while most hardware manufacturers are Chinese. If from one day to the next in China they join forces, they leave Android at a third of what it is. And if all these manufacturers seduce Samsung, we directly run out of Android.
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The movement of the United States is not very different from that of China in its own country, and it is that American companies that want to operate in China must do so with many restrictions.