New RESTRICT Law Has Devastating Side Effect for Free and Open Internet


( – No one can dispute that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has close ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This cozy relationship is precisely what has US lawmakers concerned about the app’s widespread use in the United States. While the CCP can likely spy on Americans using the app, it can also influence millions of young, impressionable people by pushing meaningless, addictive videos and even dangerous challenges.

In light of this, many lawmakers are trying to ban TikTok through different proposals they are introducing on Capitol Hill. A bipartisan group has drafted one such bill, named the RESTRICT Act or S686, but many Americans are speaking out against it.

Digital Rights Advocacy Groups Speak Out Against S686

Many people opposed to S686 are calling it the digital Patriot Act, referencing the bill signed by George Bush that allows law enforcement more power to spy on people in the name of preventing terrorism. Critics of the Restrict Act believe it hands too much unchecked power to the executive branch to pick and choose what companies, individuals, and business partnerships get shut down due to their ties with China and other foreign nations.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy group, highlighted that the bill “would set the stage for a restriction on the use of TikTok, but not do nearly enough to truly protect our private information.” It called the legislation as it stands “vague” and “undefined,” leaving too much gray area for the government to take advantage of. Instead, the group asks Congress “to focus on comprehensive consumer data privacy legislation.” It highlighted there would be no data to steal if social media companies could not harvest it in the first place.

Lindsey Graham Stumbles Over Support for the Bill

Fox News host Jesse Watters recently spoke with Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) about the Restrict Act, asking him why he sponsored legislation that could provide enormous power to the president. Graham seems to admit he didn’t actually read the legislation he sponsored and promises to come back when he has done so.

There are numerous bills floating around in Congress that ban TikTok to various extents, but the Restrict Act does not mention the controversial app at all. So, it is unclear if the bill would even eventually lead to an all-out ban on the video-sharing app closely tied to the CCP.

As always, the federal government tends to work slowly in situations like these, as lawmakers have to come to an agreement to pass a bill. Remembering this, it is up to individuals to decide how much risk they are willing to allow in their own lives, such as the personal use of TikTok, and act accordingly.

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