New “Restrict” Law Has Devastating Side Effect For Free And Open Internet

( – The new RESTRICT legislation that has bipartisan support in Congress could give the federal government unprecedented powers over our use of the internet. It has been described as one of the biggest power grabs in US history and allows the government to use “any mitigation measure to address any risk.” Critics have said this extremely broad legislation can be interpreted in a variety of ways and that this is open season for government interference in private communications.

The legislation is being promoted as a proposal to ban TikTok in the United States, but it goes much further than that. TikTok is a growing concern in the US and officials on both sides of the political aisle have spoken out. At a hearing in Congress recently, representatives questioned CEO Shou Zi Chew on its connections to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Chew denied the CCP had any authority in the company, but many lawmakers dismissed this claim because the CCP is largely associated with all Chinese businesses, and some former TikTok employees have even said that the two are so intertwined it is difficult to know where one ends and the other begins. Another former employee said that the company’s executives refer major decisions to the communist party.  

The two major areas of concern involve the video-sharing app’s ability to gather data, as well as its impact on the mental health of young people. Powerful algorithms mean that young and often vulnerable children are subjected to a barrage of increasingly extreme content, including options and advice on how to commit suicide. 

The app has already been banned on government devices in the US, UK, and EU, while some countries have banned its use entirely. 

The RESTRICT legislation was introduced by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Mark Warner (D-VA) and has received support from both Democrats and Republicans. It has also been praised by President Biden and was drafted in consultation with the White House’s National Security Council.

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