Beyond TikTok, Donald Trump wants to "clean up the Internet" in the United States. - INA Photo Agency
- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week introduced a program dubbed "Clean Network" to "purge" US networks of Chinese applications.
- Washington is trying to convince other countries to join it in this program, which has six main axes.
- "A ban on popular Chinese mobile applications TikTok and WeChat in the United States could further fragment an already fragile global Internet", fear specialists in the sector.
The battle against TikTok is only the first step in the social media war launched by Donald Trump against China. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo introduced a program this week called the “Clean Network”. The goal? "Purge" American networks of Chinese applications, such as TikTok or the Chinese social network WeChat, in order to deprive them of access to the personal data of Americans. Or even prohibit Huawei from pre-installing Chinese applications on its mobile phones.
“Being owned by Chinese parent companies, the TikTok, WeChat and other applications pose significant threats to the protection of personal data of American citizens (…) And that's not to mention the porosity of these applications to Party tools Chinese Communist (CCP) on censorship, ”the US Secretary of State said in particular on Wednesday evening.
Chinese software companies doing business in the United States could be feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party. This represents a true national security risk. President @realDonaldTrump has said: enough. pic.twitter.com/qxWytPvtE7- Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 6, 2020
In what way?
The “Clean Network” program has six main axes. Clean Carrier , which prohibits access to the American network to all Chinese operators. Clean Apps , the objective of which is the withdrawal of certain applications offered by American companies on smartphones manufactured by Chinese brands. But also the opposite approach with Clean Store, which requires the withdrawal of Chinese applications [TikTok, WeChat] deemed unreliable from American platforms such as Google Play or the Apple Store. The Clean Cloud component aims to reduce the amount of American data stored by Chinese data centers. And Clean Cable is about the physical network infrastructure. It is in addition to the Clean Path program , launched last April, which concerns 5G cellular networks.
The US expands the Clean Network by launching 5 new Clean initiatives – Clean Carrier, Clean Store, Clean Apps, Clean Cloud & Clean Cable – to secure Americans' most sensitive information from the CCP's surveillance state. We call on freedom-loving nations and companies to join us. pic.twitter.com/BQSk6YFt1M- Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 5, 2020
With which other countries?
Washington is trying to convince other countries to join it in the “Clean Network” program. “The United States is calling on its government and industry allies and partners around the world to join this rising tide to protect our data from surveillance by the CCP and other malicious entities. Building a fortress around the data of our citizens will ensure the security of all our nations, ”said Mike Pompeo, urging other countries to follow the American example. More than 30 countries are already judged as "clean countries" and the major global telecom operators are also judged as "clean telecoms", specified the US department.
A ban on popular Chinese mobile applications TikTok and WeChat in the United States could further fragment an already fragile global Internet, industry experts fear. For Daniel Castro, of the Foundation for Innovation and Information Technologies, the American threats would pose "a serious risk of fragmentation of the Internet" if they were carried out.
"This is truly an attempt to fragment the internet and the global information society along an American-Chinese fault line and exclude China from the information economy," said Milton Mueller, professor. at Georgia Tech University and founder of the Internet Governance Project. This approach aims to "create a Western firewall", which would be applied globally via US economic sanctions and would be similar to the Chinese "Great Firewall" [pun on the "Great Wall" ("Great Wall") of China and the “firewall”].
But this could backfire on the giants of Silicon Valley because "many nationalist governments around the world could make the same accusations against Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter" about the use of personal data, says Milton Mueller. "It will be the open door to nationalist obstructions and the regulation of social media."
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