- Reason.com – Could the RESTRICT Act Criminalize the Use of VPNs?
- Reasonable Statecraft – TikTok bills could dangerously expand national security state
- National Law Review – The RESTRICT Act: A Potential New Enforcement Tool to Address Economic and National Security Concerns Posed by Foreign Information and Communications Technologies
- Cap Con – Restrict Act uses TikTok as trojan horse for asset forfeiture
Before I get into what I feel about this bill and the use of TikTok, I want to state that I do use TikTok. I use TikTok for entertainment and to follow various like-minded people like myself. However, I do not trust the Chinese government has researched TikTok and BitDance enough to know they are more than likely using the app to gather details about our people. I also believe that that may be catering to the videos on TikTok to corrupt our nation. An example, I remember shortly before the current transgender drama on TikTok, just before the Covid pandemic started there were a number of teenage girls that seemed to suddenly have Tourette Syndrome. I first noticed a couple of these girls came across my TikTok stream and thought that these girls were probably helping others understand the syndrome. Then, it seemed that over the next couple of days, there were hundreds of them. Yet today, I don’t see a single one come across my stream. Today instead I see nothing but woke posts.
What do I mean by like-minded people like me on TikTok? My TikTok feed is mostly streams of history, conservative politics, anti-woke posts, light-hearted jokes, and nostalgic videos that remind me of my childhood. Really, I use TikTok to relax and be entertained in general, but can also see that my stream is a waste of time and really distracts me. My plan in the short term is to actually post my own videos to counter the immoral and woke videos that I believe are destroying this nation. So, yes I do support placing regulations on a foreign country’s apps in the US. But I don’t support Senate Bill S 686, or at least the way it is currently written.
One last thing before going into the information about the bill. Don’t you find it interesting that when President Trump was in office and threatened to ban TikTok the Democrats were completely against it? Now a few years into Biden’s administration and the Democrats are all going full force to ban TikTok now.
Why do I not support this bill?
In a nutshell, it is way too broad. There are many places in the bill where it gives a single person, the Secretary of Commerce very broad authority to take appropriate measures to investigate, monitor, and take appropriate actions. The “appropriate” term is throughout the bill in various locations. It covers all software, hardware, and communications with any person, or foreign government on any device such as Wi-Fi router, network switches, internet suppliers, mobile providers, etc. The “appropriate” actions include fines up to $1,000,000, 20 years in prison, and/or forfeiture of devices.
What this bill really does is give the federal government an overreach into social media and all the technologies you use. It would be the beginning of the government to be allowed to watch everything you do on the internet. Sure that sounds a little far-fetched. It is currently written that a foreign government is listed in the bill but can be redefined as needed. But this is really just a small step towards greater control over time as the government changes who our adversaries are. Next could be the government wanting to “protect” the national security of the country from domestic adversaries. Who gets to decide what a “domestic adversary” is?
While researching this bill I found that if the idea was to only block apps that misused your personal data by a foreign government, then HR 57 which was introduced in January would complete that without giving away the freedom of the American people. That bill, directly states that the banning of apps would be to protect our personal data, maintain the national security of our country, and prohibits foreign apps from collecting information off of devices. HR 57 does not place a punishment on the American people for using software or hardware devices on the internet. Unlike S 686, HR 57 does not punish a person that uses a VPN to access TikTok if it is banned in the US.