RESTRICT Act Is Scary
I just wish our government would do its job and stop trying to control the people that they work for. Yes, I said work for! Many people don’t realize that we elect our government officials so they can represent us, not so they can govern over us. But this is a civics or government post, it is about the S.686 RESTRICT Act (“Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act”).
The proposed bill could give the government even more power, this time to force the sale of foreign-owned apps to United States companies, a provision in the legislation could also see American citizens face up to 20 years in jail and a $250,000 fine for accessing “banned apps” using a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
To break this down Barney style, I’m going to use TikTok, which is foreign-owned. Under this act, if TikTok is banned in the U.S. and if you used an app (like a VPN) to get around the roadblocks that the government has put in place, you could face a minimum 20-year sentence and a $250,000 fine, just for accessing the banned app. But it isn’t just TikTok that the government has its sights on, they are also looking at many foreign-owned Cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency-related services.
I can hear that prison conversation right now, I killed three people; I stole over 300 cars; I posted a video on TikTok, lol.
And here is the real scary part, let’s say that when Trump was President and he used Twitter all the time, let’s also say that Twitter is foreign owned. The House and Senate could have banned Twitter for American citizens. Let’s say that Mark Zuckerberg sells Facebook to a foreign company and suddenly overnight you can’t use it anymore, because the Government banned it. This is really a dangerous game that they are entering.
What about your favorite online game that you play for several hours every evening, is actually owned by a foreign company and the government restricts it?
Today it is foreign apps, and tomorrow it is your favorite social media site that is being used by people who dislike the current government.
So why does the U.S. Government actually want to ban TikTok? Simply put, they are concerned for your privacy, or at least that is what they are telling you. Publicly they claim that as a Chinese company, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance would be required to turn over data collected by TikTok over to the Chinese Government. How funny is that, in 2015, the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) admitted that over 22 million records of Government employees’ private data were breached and it looks like it was the Chinese. The kicker is that included with the data breach were sensitive 127-page SF-86 (Questionnaire for National Security Positions) along with fingerprints were part of the hack. The SF86 contains all the history of government employees since they were 18 years old, used to obtain a security clearance. I personally was part of his hack and I’m required to update my SF86 every five (now seven) years. This form contains not only my personal history but that of my family and close friends as well. But, yeah, the government is concerned about our privacy.
Currently, the U.S. Government is trying to pressure TikTok to be sold to a U.S.-owned company. The funny thing is that they aren’t talking about making it more secure, they are simply trying to have your data kept inside the U.S. so they can have access to it.