President Donald Trump will take action shortly on Chinese software companies that are feeding data directly to the Beijing government, posing a risk to US national security, secretary of state Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.
“President Trump has said ‘enough’ and we’re going to fix it and so he will take action in the coming days with respect to a broad array of national security risks that are presented by software connected to the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo said on Fox News.
The news comes after Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday that he would issue an order for social media platform TikTok to be banned in the US as early as Saturday.
Over the last several months, US officials have repeatedly said TikTok under its current Chinese parent company, Beijing-based software firm ByteDance, poses a national risk because of the personal data it handles.
“They’re true privacy issues for the American people and for a long time, a long time the US just said ‘well goodness if we’re having fun with it, or if a company can make money off of it, we’re going to permit that to happen’,” Pompeo said.
In response, under a recent proposal, ByteDance is willing to divest the US operations of TikTok to Microsoft in a bid to make a deal with the White House, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Saturday. That offer has gained some support from allies of the president, including Republican senator Lindsey Graham.
In a separate interview on Sunday, treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said the committee on foreign investment in the US, which reviews the national security implications of foreign business deals, is looking at the matter. — Reported by Doina Chiacu, (c) 2020 Reuters