The outrage over the draconian RESTRICT Act, marketed to the public as a “TikTok ban,” is rapidly rising.
The bill has been revealed as something far more expansive that a mere TikTok ban. It grants sweeping powers to the federal government to restrict the online activities of Americans, imposing heavy penalties on any citizen who circumvents it, including criminal fines of up to $1 million, jail sentences of up to 20 years, and the seizure and search of hardware and online accounts, including cryptocurrency accounts.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson eviscerated the bill in a segment this week, saying: “This bill isn’t about banning TikTok. It’s never about what they say it is. Instead, this bill would give enormous and terrifying new powers to the federal government to punish American citizens and regulate how they communicate with one another.”
The REAL TikTok scandal is not what you think it is… pic.twitter.com/nZ0ZGBp094
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) March 28, 2023
“So you would be allowing the executive branch — the Biden administration — to regulate speech on the internet. And if you are somehow involved with, quote, a foreign adversary — let’s say you oppose the war against Russia — you go to prison for 20 years.”
“So, this isn’t about banning TikTok. This is about introducing flat-out totalitarianism into our system. Now, just because TikTok is so unappealing… that does not mean that the people trying to ban TikTok have your interests in mind.”
Donald Trump Jr., also slammed the bill.
“The uniparty wants more power to control what we do and see,” said Don Jr. in a post on Twitter. “And now we’re going to give the Biden goons the ability to throw us in jail for 20 years if they decide we’re in violation of this craziness? No thanks.”
Nothing is ever as it seems. The uniparty wants more power to control what we do and see. And now we’re going to give the Biden goons the ability to throw us in jail for 20 years if they decide we’re in violation of this craziness? No thanks. https://t.co/NKpBlUry4L
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 28, 2023
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has come out against the bill. In an article for the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Senator and former presidential candidate said the bill would make America more like China.
“To those who are worried that the Chinese government might somehow now have access to millions of American teenagers’ information, realize that all social media sucks up personal data that people voluntarily provide,” wrote Sen. Paul. “If you’re going to ban TikTok, what’s next? Arguably, several domestic apps censor conservatives more.”
House Republicans on the Financial Services Committee also came out against the RESTRICT Act, calling it a “smokescreen for the largest expansion of executive power since the IEEPA [International Emergency Economic Powers Act].”
“The U.S. can’t beat China by becoming more like the Chinese Communist Party.”
The RESTRICT Act is using TikTok as a smokescreen for the largest expansion of executive power since IEEPA.
The U.S. can’t beat China by becoming more like the Chinese Communist Party. https://t.co/03BeBwCNAk
— Financial Services GOP (@FinancialCmte) March 27, 2023
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said he would veto the RESTRICT Act if he were in office.
“As opposed as I am to the Chinese infiltration of our economy, I think we have to be very careful not to become more like China in the process,” said Ramaswamy.
We should not trust the ever-expanding federal surveillance state. It is corrupt. That’s why I would veto the RESTRICT Act, unless we repeal the Patriot Act at the same time. My rule: if Congress expands power of the national security establishment, it must rescind a previously… pic.twitter.com/U9y8RbHSIG
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) March 29, 2023
“The RESTRICT Act, billed as a ban on the CCP-linked TikTok app, is actually a Trojan horse for even more government surveillance,” said the official account of Young Americans for Liberty. “Have we learned anything from the Patriot Act?”
The RESTRICT Act, billed as a ban on the CCP-linked TikTok app, is actually a Trojan horse for even more government surveillance.
The bill is never actually about what the government says it is.
Have we learned anything from the Patriot Act? pic.twitter.com/EMnPPlR7dC
— Young Americans for Liberty (@YALiberty) March 28, 2023
“The Patriot Act on steroids,” was the conclusion of former presidential candidate Ron Paul, whose grassroots-backed campaigns in 2008 and 2012 helped give rise to the Tea Party.
The Restrict Act Is The Patriot Act on Steroids
Watch the whole show here: https://t.co/s1UT9RxGcZ pic.twitter.com/jpIs7ToRB5
— Ron Paul (@RonPaul) March 28, 2023
“Disguised as a ‘Ban TikTok’ bill, it actually BANS YOU, free speech, and gives the government the right to silence us at will,” said conservative activist Pamela Geller.
Disguised as a “Ban TikTok” Bill, It Actually BANS YOU, Free Speech And Gives Government The Right To Silence Us At Will
Of course Dems want this, they’ve found a diabolical way to legislate their unconstitutional seizure of our freedoms and silence us https://t.co/79TqLdlKCO pic.twitter.com/f1ss8aXL8u
— 🇺🇸 Pamela Geller 🇺🇸 (@PamelaGeller) March 28, 2023
“The legislation being proposed ‘to ban TikTok’ actually goes far beyond TikTok and would give the government broad, vague, easy-to-abuse censorship powers,” said Fox News panelist Kat Timpf. “Don’t fall for it.”
Unpopular but important warning: The legislation being proposed “to ban TikTok” actually goes far beyond TikTok and would give the government broad, vague, easy-to-abuse censorship powers.
Don’t fall for it. pic.twitter.com/Q1z2AWlr59
— Kat Timpf (@KatTimpf) March 28, 2023
Calling it “The Patriot Act on steroids,” conservative journalist Jordan Schachtel said the bill was backed by “all of the usual suspects.”
The Restrict Act , otherwise known as The Patriot Act on steroids, now has 21 cosponsors. All of the usual suspects: https://t.co/L18LB3mIsN
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) March 29, 2023
“This is a Patriot Act for the internet,” said Greg Price, communications director for the State Freedom Caucus Network.
The bill to ban TikTok is absolutely terrifying. It gives the government the ability to go after anyone they deem as a national security risk at which point they can access everything from their computer to video games to their ring light.
This is a Patriot Act for the internet. pic.twitter.com/uYea49F1b1
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 28, 2023
“Could the RESTRICT Act criminalize the use of VPNs?” asked Reason senior editor Elizabeth Nolan Brown.
“Sen. Warner’s office says no, but that’s far from clear from the bill’s insanely broad text.”
Could the RESTRICT Act criminalize the use of VPNs?
Sen. Warner’s office says no, but that’s far from clear from the bill’s insanely broad text… https://t.co/iE8O5IuK6x
— Elizabeth Nolan Brown (@ENBrown) March 29, 2023
Breitbart News will continue to cover the unfolding controversy on the RESTRICT Act.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.