A Counter-Proposal: RESTRICT the RESTRICTors, by Thomas Knapp

The RESTRICT Act may make violent revolution inevitable. From Thomas Knapp at antiwar.com:

The RESTRICT Act – currently winding its way through Congress – would empower the US Commerce Department to “identify, deter, disrupt, prevent, prohibit, investigate and mitigate transactions” that “pose an undue or unacceptable risk to U.S. national security or the safety of US persons.”

The RESTRICT Act’s more common name in the popular consciousness is “the TikTok ban,” even though the bill doesn’t mention TikTok and pretty much allows the US government to ban (well, try to ban, anyway) any Internet app which the government finds inconvenient to its purposes in any given way at any given time.

What’s a “transaction?” The bill defines it as “any acquisition, importation, transfer, installation, dealing in, or use of any information and communications technology product or service, including ongoing activities such as managed services, data transmission, software updates, repairs, or the provision of data hosting services.” In other words, any action taken on the Internet.

Oh, and despite some contrary claims by “fact checkers,” the use of Virtual Private Networks. The bill explicitly covers any “transaction” “designed or intended to evade or circumvent the application of this Act,” and VPNs are certainly designed to do exactly that.

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