That Senate bill to "ban" TikTok? Read the terrifying fine print and kiss your civil liberties goodbye
I am feeling quite bamboozled by this whole "ban TikTok" thing. I was fully on board, but I actually hadn't read the proposed bill. Silly little me thought that when Congress said they wanted to ban TikTok, they just meant they wanted to ban TikTok. But of course, this is another onion of a bill with little Easter eggs hidden throughout. And these are some pretty scary Easter eggs.
There are actually two proposed bills, but the one we're talking about is called the "RESTRICT Act." It has support from both parties as well as the White House. And it's basically a Patriot Act for the internet, as Greg Price on Twitter put it. It gives the government the authority to go after anyone they deem a national security threat. Which could mean actual terrorists, sure. Or it could mean the sad white kid in the basement who excels in the art of meme-making. Either way, the government would have access to basically anything they own that connects to the internet.
The penalties for a violation range from 20 years in jail, $1M in fines, and/or seizing your property. All just because we want the Chinese Communists to stop subverting our youth with half-naked dancing girls. I guess that's too much to ask.
The bill also allows the White House, through the Commerce Department, to ban social media, gaming, and payment apps. Meaning they can ban video games, video game companies, and might even have the power to go after crypto.
The bill also refers to the ability to ban transactions. The term "transaction" is defined as a "current, past, or potential future transaction." Basically, anything Uncle Sam wants it to be.
But wait, there's more! All the hullabaloo around TikTok is because it poses an imminent threat from China, a foreign adversary. But in this bill, a "foreign individual" can also be an American citizen! Yaaaay!
And for the cherry on top, any details about each usage of the act is exempt from FOIA. Just cuz. So as much as I hate to agree with the Libertarian Party on anything, it seems they got this one right. You can check out their whole Twitter thread for yourself. And let's hope this bill doesn't pass.
Lily is a Zoomer college dropout who somehow landed a writing gig here at LwC.com. In her spare time, she enjoys going for runs, touching grass, and occasionally tweeting tweets for fellow tweeters.
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