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IPFS News Link • Social Networking/Social Media

The TikTok Ban Is The Next Patriot Act

•, by Aaron Sobczak

The popular social media mobile app is currently owned by ByteDance Ltd, a Chinese company. China and the United States currently have a rocky relationship, leading to fears that the Chinese government could potentially use this app to spy on American citizens. Several states and counties voted to restrict the usage of the app in some ways, mostly disallowing government employees from using it on government-owned phones. Earlier this month, the United States Congress passed a piece of legislation that would restrict the app's availability if certain requirements are not met by ByteDance.

Putting aside the idea that politicians rarely have pure motives, this act has the potential to be just as dangerous as the Patriot Act. With a supposed goal of protecting American national security, the Patriot Act granted sweeping permissions to the federal government and the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens, with far less due process. In addition to having the potential to violate privacy rights and the Fourth Amendment, this new act is a blatant attack on property rights. Mobile device manufacturers and owners have every right to install whatever software they would like, as it is their property. Any illusion of a right to national security is immediately contradicted as collective rights are positive in nature and thus not rights at all.

When looking through this act, several parts stick out.

It begins by restricting any entity from distributing, maintaining, or updating any application that is controlled by a foreign adversary. As skeptics of the state would point out, this is already problematic. It should be obvious that one cannot adequately trust the American national security regime to determine which countries or entities are adversarial. A recent egregious example would be when the United States was determined to paint Iraq, and Saddam Hussein, as a uniquely evil power that assisted with the events of 9/11. Additionally, one can point to how the Trump and Biden administrations supported covid lockdowns, thus making Americans who understood the Constitution and property rights look like enemies in the eyes of many.