A bipartisan group of senators led by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and John Thune, R-S.D., unveiled the RESTRICT Act on March 7. The legislation is meant to crack down on communications technology developed by foreign adversaries, like China and Russia, because of national security risks.
The RESTRICT Act gives the executive branch the power to “[enforce] any mitigation measure to address any risk” regarding a “current, past, or potential future transaction” with what is deemed to be a foreign adversary. It would also apply to taking action “to address any risk arising from any covered transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,” including “interfering in, or altering the result or reported result of a Federal election.” The penalty for running afoul of this law could be up to “20 years” spent in prison.
Many of the bill’s detractors suggest that while it may be touted as a ban on TikTok, it would have far larger implications for civil liberties in the United States.
Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., who blocked a different bill to ban TikTok introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. on Wednesday, also pointed to an article about the RESTRICT Act on Twitter that warned “The TikTok bill is a Trojan Horse. Prepare for the Patriot Act,” by writing, “FACT.”
Others online warned about “domestic spying” and the government accessing personal devices.
State Freedom Caucus Network communications director Greg Price condemned the legislation as “absolutely terrifying” in a Twitter thread, warning, “It gives the government the ability to go after anyone they deem as a national security risk at which point they can access everything from their computer to video games to their ring light. This is a Patriot Act for the internet.”
Bill to ban TikTok slammed as ‘Patriot Act for the digital age’ | Fox News‘Patriot Act for the digital age’ | Fox News