The highly controversial “Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act,’’ or RESTRICT ACT, is moving its way through the legislative process, despite overwhelming, nonpartisan opposition to this massive governmental overreach.
You’re selling us this legislation as a way to protect national security. You’re claiming this is a way to protect against the threat of TikTok. Funny, when Trump wanted to ban TikTok, you were all mostly opposed and talking about “free markets.” How the times have changed!
The problem with this legislation is, of course, that it gives the federal government additional, unconstitutional, unprecedented power – during a time when public trust in government is at an all time low.
The RESTRICT ACT was introduced in the Senate on March 7, 2023 doesn’t explicitly set out to ban TikTok or any app; rather, it gives the Secretary of Commerce broad authority to “identify, deter, disrupt, prevent, prohibit, investigate, or otherwise mitigate” any “transaction” by information, technology, or communications companies that are owned or could be influenced by foreign adversaries.
This is a restriction of choice and market forces and allows the government to influence private industry in new ways. All you have to do is say the magic words: National Security.
Many experts are warning that the bill’s broad language leaves room for doubt about the people and types of technology it would impact, and the vagueness of the language leaves open the door to further civil liberty violations by an out of control and increasingly totalitarian government. Indeed, one of the chief criticisms of the RESTRICT ACT is that the language allows for individual users to be punished if they seek to gain access to banned apps through VPNs or other means.
Again, for those in the back, the legislation allows for users to be punished. Just like in Communist China.
From conservative influencers and media organizations to digital rights groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Fight for the Future to civil liberty organizations like the ACLU, the opposition to this legislation is united and overwhelming.
Yet, you’re still pushing it. Why?
Remember your oath and kill this bill.