Trump to hit software companies that feed data to Beijing 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says measures to be announced shortly

by Reuters
Trump to hit software companies that feed data to Beijing 
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference at the State Department on April 29, 2020 in Washington DC. He said 'untrusted' companies like Huawei and ZTE should have no access to US systems. Photo: Andrew Harnik / AFP.

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 Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

The news comes after Trump told reporters onboard Air Force One on Friday that he would issue an order for social media platform TikTok to be banned in the United States.

That move was overtaken by news on the weekend that Microsoft is looking to buy TikTok's operations in the US (and possibly other countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and would ensure that data that it accumulates is stored in the US.

SEE: Microsoft gets six weeks to negotiate TikTok deal 

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 security risk because of the personal data it manages and its capacity to be a tool for Chinese intelligence.

“They’re true privacy issues for the American people and for a long time, a long time the United States 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 proposal on the weekend, ByteDance is willing to divest the US operations of TikTok to Microsoft in a bid to make a deal with the White House, 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 United States, which reviews the national security implications of foreign business deals, is looking at the matter.