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IPFS News Link • Social Networking/Social Media

Would the Feds Ban Twitter Under the RESTRICT Act?

•, By Ben Weingarten

Decoupling from Communist China in every strategically significant realm, from the capital markets to defense and pharmaceutical production, and information and communications technology is imperative if we are to counter its hegemonic ambitions and persist as a free and independent nation in something more than name.

Banning TikTok – a ubiquitous social media platform that masquerades as a proliferator of harmless dance videos while doubling as a likely tool of Chinese Communist Party surveillance and data harvesting, and certain tool of its information warfare, under de facto if not de jure CCP control via Beijing-based parent ByteDance – would logically be part of any such decoupling, and manifestly in the U.S. national interest.

But arguably the most prominent congressional effort putatively aimed at achieving a ban of TikTok, the bipartisan RESTRICT Act, raises concerns that the cure may be worse than the disease – to the extent it even ameliorates it.

If past is prologue, key language in the bill hiding in plain sight would seem to legitimize the very heretofore lawless targeting of domestic dissent under which Americans have suffered in recent years – undermining the values and principles the bills' supporters purport to cherish.

Under the bill, one could easily see the likes of a Twitter, or any other platform or service out of favor with authorities nuked, or at minimum under existential threat.

The RESTRICT Act broadly authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to "review and prohibit certain transactions between persons in the United States and foreign adversaries."

Among other provisions, it calls on the Secretary to "take action to identify, deter, disrupt, prevent, prohibit, investigate, or otherwise mitigate" any of a number of "undue or unacceptable" national security risks arising from a slew of transactions past or present, including "any acquisition, importation, transfer, installation, dealing in, or use of any information and communications technology product or service" to which entities tied to China or several other countries, or subject to their jurisdiction, have an interest.

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