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What is the RESTRICT Act?

Millions of people all over the world use social media platforms such as TikTok to socialize with friends and other people. However, many other people believe that this specific social media platform has the potential to pose a risk to life as you know it.

The RESTRICT Act that has been proposed recently is a bill that is supposed to eliminate the threat to national security and other areas. The basics of the bill include restricting the use of TikTok for everyone in the United States.

If you are curious about the details of the RESTRICT Act and what it may mean for American citizens and cryptocurrency in the future, keep reading.

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What is the RESTRICT Act?

The Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology, or RESTRICT Act is a legislative bill that has been proposed to attempt to mitigate potential threats to national security. This proposed bill is aimed at getting more government control over the Information Communication Technology that exists in the country today.

The RESTRICT Act was proposed by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. John Thune (R-S.D), and several others. Although there is also another bill on the table that is similar to this, the RESTRICT Act takes legislation in another direction.

According to this law, the secretary of commerce would have the power to examine and prohibit the use of certain products and services that may threaten national security. This specifically includes those products and services that come from foreign countries offered to US citizens online. 

It is important to note that while the act does not explicitly refer to TikTok, many of the concerns relate to the social media platform and the recent talk and concerns with it. Despite this, the act covers any type of product or service created by a foreign country that may pose a threat to the United States, which would include TikTok as well as many other applications people use on a daily basis.

If this legislation is passed, foreign internet products, apps, and services may be illegal in the US. Not only that, but internet add ons like VPNs used to mask IP location may also become illegal. 

Related: The Stable Act: US Regulations on Stablecoins

Where Did the RESTRICT Act Come From?

The RESTRICT Act was born out of the frustration of many people who have concerns about foreign technology making its way into the United States. While the U.S. has always been a country open to other nations, some representatives have decided that other countries have posed a national security risk over the years.

The advancement of technology, ICT, or Information Communications Technology, has brought with it many products that originate from other countries. Some of these products, specifically those that come from countries such as the People’s Republic of China, Russia, and North Korea that may pose a risk to not only national security but to the privacy of individuals as well.

Products such as antivirus software, technology equipment, and communications services are said to pose the biggest risk. These companies include ones such as TikTok, ByteDance, WeChat, IOHK, and more, all of which allow citizens to create an account and talk to people all over the world.

There have been many states and other entities that have attempted to create certain restrictions that will limit the use of these technologies, however, they have not gone very far. The RESTRICT Act is the answer to these failings in that it is being posed at a government level that if voted in will stop this type of ICT from happening.

Related: KYC and AML: How It Applies to Bitcoin in the USA

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What Does the RESTRICT Act Mean for United States Citizens?

It is important to note that if the RESTRICT Act is adopted and passed, it will make using any of these products and services illegal in the United States. Keep in mind that while this may be true, it puts the burden of vetting these products and services on the Department of Commerce to decide rather than allowing the citizen freedom to choose the technology they use. 

Are these apps actually damaging national security? Probably no more than your basic texting or calling. The point is, this act is another freedom restriction promoted under the guise of national security just as the Patriot Act was after 9/11.

While we don’t support, or even enjoy TikTok, we do enjoy the right to privacy and the right to choose the apps we use. If this bill passes, it is another brand falling from the tree of freedom people benefit from in the United States. 

Future Implication of the RESTRICT Act

Several implications could result from the RESTRICT Act being passed and put into place. 

The most obvious one is that many applications already on your phone may be labeled as illegal overnight, and you could find yourself facing charges for having downloaded them. While this may sound a bit dramatic, for those who have been at the receiving end of the war on technology over the past few years, it definitely seems like a middle finger. 

Additionally, many applications which process cryptocurrency transactions, if they are from another country, could be shut down. This will lower the amount of cryptocurrency apps in the marketplace available to Americans, and further Joe Biden’s war on crypto

Not only that, but many people currently view the RESTRICT Act to be too broad in its terminology and that it could pose a problem for all technology down the road. This is mostly because of the language that is used that does not mention any specific restrictions.

The verbiage in the RESTRICT Act proposal mentions “transactions involving information communications technology products in which any foreign adversary has any interest…” While meant to cover a wide range of products that either currently exist or could in the future, it really leaves a door open for the US government to proceed how they please under the act. 

The biggest future implications of this and other legislation similar to it could lead to many areas of technology that are not a threat, such as cryptocurrency, being completely banned. Many in the US Government are against the Act, but either way, it is still on the table.

The bill was proposed March 7th, 2023, and it is unclear when it will go to an official vote. Either way, it is not good news for the cryptocurrency industry. 

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Restrict act | Legislation | Crypto | Cryptocurrency | Crypto legislation | Tiktok

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