The RESTRICT Act, introduced by Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tom Thune (R-SD), is aimed at blocking or disrupting transactions and financial holdings linked to foreign adversaries that pose a risk to national security, however the language of the bill could be used to give the US government enormous power to punish free speech.
Warner, a longtime opponent of free speech who, as Michael Krieger pointed out in 2018 (and confirmed in the Twitter Files) pushed for the ‘weaponization’ of big tech, crafted the RESTRICT act to “ake 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.
Bad actors listed in the bill are; China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela.
In reality, the RESTRICT Act has very little to do with TikTok and everything to do with controlling online content.
In very specific terms a lot of U.S. websites would be impacted. Why? Because a lot of websites use third-party ‘plug-ins’ or ‘widgets’ or software created in foreign countries to support the content on their site. The “Restrict Act” gives the DNI 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. In very direct terms, the passage of SB686 would give the Dept of Commerce, DNI and DHS the ability to shut down what you are reading right now. This is a big deal. –The Last Refuge
The RESTRICT Act can also be used to punish people using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) if they’re used to access banned websites, and directs the Secretary of Commerce to “identify, deter, disrupt, prevent, prohibit, investigate, or otherwise mitigate” that which is deemed a national security risk associated with technology linked to the above countries.
Penalties include fines of up to $1 million or 20 years in prison, or both.
The RESTRICT Act is not limited to just TikTok. 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” pic.twitter.com/0mFNEKLUqU
— Mises Caucus (@LPMisesCaucus) March 26, 2023