The Department of State launched the Clean Network program on August 5 to promote the protection of American data and telecommunications infrastructure, specifically targeting China-based companies.

Through five lines of effort – carrier, store, apps, cloud, and cable – the State Department wrote that it hopes to protect privacy and sensitive information “from aggressive intrusions by malign actors, such as the Chinese Communist Party.” The program also called out telecommunications infrastructure from Chinese carriers as a “danger to U.S. national security” that should not be allowed to provide service to the United States.

“The United States calls on our allies and partners in government and industry around the world to join the growing tide to secure our data from the CCP’s [People’s Republic of China’s] surveillance state and other malign entities,” the State Department wrote. “Building a clean fortress around our citizens’ data will ensure all of our nations’ security.”

The State Department calls for removing China-based apps from U.S. mobile app stores and removing U.S. mobile apps from China-based mobile app stores like Huawei. The department asserts that this will protect American privacy and innovation. The mobile app store provisions are in line with the White House’s recent move to ban TikTok, a video-sharing app owned by a Chinese company, from operating in the United States. The U.S. alleges that the app collects sensitive data for malicious purposes.

The Clean Network program also emphasizes the need to move away from cloud-based systems sponsored by foreign adversaries to protect valuable intellectual property, such as COVID-19 vaccine research, the State Department said.

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.