Anti-TikTok legislation a thinly-disguised Patriot Act for the internet
04/02/2023 // Ethan Huff // Views

Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Tom Thune (R-S.D.) have introduced bipartisan legislation called the Restrict Act that is claimed to be about blocking or disrupting financial transactions and holdings linked to foreign adversaries that pose a risk to national security. In truth, the bill appears to be little more than an extension of the USA Patriot Act from the George W. Bush years.

If passed, the Restrict Act would hand the government enormous new powers to punish free speech. This appears to be the intent of the bill, which was concocted by someone with an extensive history of standing in direct opposition to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Exposed by Michael Krieger in 2018 and confirmed in the recent Twitter Files drops as someone who pushed for the "weaponization" of Big Tech, Warner crafted the Restrict Act to "take swift action against technology companies suspected of cavorting with foreign governments and spies, to effectively vanish their products from shelves and app stores when the threat they pose gets too big to ignore," according to Wired.

Listed in the legislation as bad actors are China, Russia, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. Not listed in the Restrict Act is any specific mention of TikTok, which appears more as the Trojan Horse or excuse to erase even more of Americans' constitutional rights.

(Related: TikTok is a bastion of deception pushing teenagers to destroy their bodies with transgender mutilation.)

ACTION ITEM: Contact your representatives and demand they reject the RESTRICT ACT. It is important to call, not just send an email. You can reach your Senators and House members via the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.


If passed, SB686 would allow the government to shut down many U.S.-based websites

The Last Refuge published a report about the Restrict Act that warns about its implications. Many U.S.-based websites would be impacted by it because a lot of them use third-party "plug-ins," "widgets," or other software originally created in foreign countries, which would become prohibited.

"The 'Restrict Act' gives the DNI (Director of National Intelligence) the ability to tell a website using any 'foreign content' or software; that might be engaged in platform communication the U.S Government views as against their interests; to shut down or face a criminal charge," The Last Refuge reported.

"In very direct terms, the passage of SB686 would give the Dept of Commerce, DNI and DHS (Department of Homeland Security) the ability to shut down what you are reading right now. This is a big deal."

Another aspect of the Restrict Act is its implications for people who use virtual private networks, also known as VPNs. If someone uses a VPN to try to access a banned website, the Secretary of Commerce would be directed to "identify, deter, disrupt, prevent, prohibit, investigate, or otherwise mitigate" the act as if it were a national security risk associated with technology manufactured in one or more of the above-listed countries.

Those found to be in violation of the bill's provisions face fines of up to $1 million, 20 years in prison, or both.

"The RESTRICT Act is not limited to just TikTok," reported the Mises Caucus. "It gives the government authority over all forms of communication domestic or abroad and grants powers to 'enforce any mitigation measure to address any risk' to national security now and in any 'potential future transaction.'"

The Mises Caucus is further warning that if an average American is deemed through the lens of the legislation to be a national security threat, the government will be given free rein to access "everything" about the person for prosecution and punishment.

Reason magazine reported that the language contained in the Restrict Act delineating to whom it applies is "confusing at best." Many of the bill's definitions are lacking in scope, and could be used to imply that "any person" using a VPN is some kind of criminal linked to a "foreign adversary."

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