US bill would ban Google and Apple from hosting apps that accept China’s digital yuan

The bill to be unveiled Thursday by Senators Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio and Mike Braun states that companies that own or control app stores “shall not offer or support any app in [leur] app store in the United States that supports or enables e-CNY transactions”.

According to Cotton’s office, the digital yuan could provide the Chinese government with “real-time visibility into all transactions on the network, posing privacy and security concerns for American individuals who join this network.”

The Center for New American Security, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, said in a January 2021 report that China’s digital currency and electronic payments system were “likely to be a boon to security surveillance. economy by the CCP and for the government’s interference in the lives of Chinese citizens,” noting that “transactions will contain accurate data about users and their financial activity.”

Apple Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google, Ant Group, Tencent and the Chinese Embassy Washington did not immediately comment.

The move comes after WeChat, a messaging and payment app owned by Chinese company Tencent with over 1.2 billion users, announced it would start supporting the currency early this year. Alipay, the hugely popular payment app owned by Jack Ma’s Ant Group, also accepts digital currency. Both apps are available in the Apple and Google app stores.

While stopping potential national security threats linked to China is a rare point of bipartisan agreement in the deeply divided US Congress, the bill’s prospects for passage before the midterm elections are uncertain.

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