“So you would be allowing the executive branch, the Biden administration, to regulate speech on the internet, and if you are somehow involved with a ‘foreign adversary’…you go to prison for 20 years…this is about introducing flat-out totalitarianism.” —Tucker Carlson on the RESTRICT Act
Many people have hailed the RESTRICT Actnow in the Senate as a potential boon, since it supposedly aims to ban risky foreign transactions and apps; or, as the bill puts it, “To authorize the Secretary of Commerce to review and prohibit certain transactions between persons in the United States and foreign adversaries, and for other purposes.” The senator who introduced the bill, Mark Warner (D-VA), has endorsed targeting TikTok in particular. So far, so good—TikTok is owned by ByteDance, in which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) owns a financial stake and board seat, and all Chinese companies are required to spy for the CCP, so it should be banned. The issue is that the RESTRICT App would give the federal government unprecedented power to control speech online, according to Fox’s Tucker Carlson.
The “covered holdings” that can be targeted in the bill as posing “undue or unacceptable risk” could be defined as violating the act even if they’re not foreign, it seems to me (see Section 2, definitions, point B of “COVERED HOLDING”). The Secretary of Commerce decides what is and what is not a risk. Remember when Parler was shut down for supposedly helping incite insurrection?
”Under this bill, if you engage in any of that with a so-called ‘foreign adversary,’ as determined by, in this case, the Biden administration, that would allow the Secretary of Commerce…and the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to decide whether you’re acting in the ‘interest of a foreign adversary.’ Again, that’s another term that the executive branch, the Secretary of Commerce, gets to define without the interference of Congress.”
Penalties can include 20-year prison sentences for American citizens determined to have violated the Act
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