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RESTRICT Act Could Nullify The First Amendment – Senator Paul Issues Dire Warning

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has strongly opposed the RESTRICT Act, which is being promoted as a ban on the popular social media app TikTok.

The app, which has over 150 million monthly users in the United States, is controlled by a Chinese company with connections to the Chinese Communist Party.

RESTRICT Act is not only pertinent to TikTok

The RESTRICT Act, co-sponsored by Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and John Thune (R-S.D.), aims to give the Commerce Department the authority to impose restrictions on TikTok and other technologies considered a national security risk.

Sen. Paul cautioned that the Act would allow the federal government to censor any online communications it views as subversive and undermine the First Amendment.

The Act could undermine The First Amendment

Writing in a Townhall column, Paul stated that the bill “bestows an astonishing amount of power to the Executive branch in a manner that the Chinese Communist Party would approve of.”

He argued that the proposed legislation would give the Executive branch excessive powers, permitting the president to ban speech and control economic transactions.

The act could target any business considered ‘a national security risk’

According to Sen. Paul, the RESTRICT Act would not only target TikTok but also any business under the jurisdiction of a foreign adversary considered a national security risk.

In his column, he contended that the legislation would provide the authorities with legal cover to pursue those considered to be “undermining democratic processes” to support the “strategic objectives of a foreign adversary.”

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The Act could prevent the media from publishing crucial information

He also warned that federal officials could use the Act to prevent the media from publishing crucial information in the name of combating foreign disinformation in an election.

Despite support from over 20 senators, the RESTRICT Act has faced criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for being too broad.

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The act could increase government ability to spy on Americans

Critics argue that the legislation could significantly increase the federal government’s ability to spy on Americans online and penalize them for sharing information that opposes the official narrative.

Sen. Paul has been vocal in his opposition, stating on the Senate floor in March, “I think we should beware of those who use fear to coax Americans to relinquish our liberties.”

The proposed legislation would also grant the White House the power to enforce measures to “address any risk arising from any covered transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States that the Secretary determines…”

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The Act could grant Washington control over electoral process

Sen. Paul believes that if the law is broadly interpreted, the federal government could spy on local elections to mitigate perceived threats, granting Washington excessive control over the electoral process.

In his Townhall column, Sen. Paul cited the allegations that federal officials, acting on behalf of the Democrats and the Biden administration, falsely claimed that the Hunter Biden laptop story was a Russian disinformation campaign designed to influence the 2020 election.

Powers could be ‘abused’ and used to ‘further political agenda’

He wrote, “We already know how these powers could be abused by our government to further the political agenda of the political class.”

The RESTRICT Act also stipulates that anyone who disobeys an order from the Secretary of Commerce under the Act could face up to 20 years in prison.

Sen. Paul warned, “A company that publicly disagreed with the President could find themselves on an official enemies list, censored, and imprisoned.”

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