RESTRICT Act Threatens Americans’ First Amendment Rights

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Debate in Congress over calls to ban Chinese social media platform TikTok has led to the introduction of the RESTRICT Act by Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and co-sponsors including Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Deb Fischer (R-NE). CEI experts have serious concerns about the RESTRICT Act.

Director of CEI’s Center for Technology and Innovation Jessica Melugin said:

“Whatever the concerns around data broadly or TiKTok specifically, the RESTRICT Act is bad policy and a danger to the free speech rights of every American. If we are correct to worry about personal information in the hands of Chinese government officials, should we not also be wary of empowering an unelected bureaucrat here at home with such broad and vague discretion? Talk about throwing the First Amendment baby out with the national security bathwater.”

CEI Vice President for Strategy and senior fellow Iain Murray said:

“It would be bad enough if the bill were simply what it purported to be – a bill to ban TikTok. But the bill is far worse than that. It is an outright assault on Americans’ first amendment rights. It would put the government in every device we use, in the name of protecting us from devious foreign threats defined at the whim of government officials. Congress should reject this bill with overwhelming majorities to deter anything like it from being proposed again.”

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