“The House ran out the clock…”
If it gets to the House, we can hope that’s what happens to Senate bill 686, the RESTRICT Act: Never put to a vote.
That bill is actually peripheral to this post, but is a perfect example of extending surveillance-state tentacles (which we’ll get to).
Ostensibly, the bill defends us against the CCP controlled TikTok spyware – beloved of goofy pre-teens and sinister trans-activists.
I also detest TikTok. Its CCP data gathering on our youth is unacceptable, and its transactivist influencer contingent is culturally corrosive. It should, at least, have age limitations applied to some of its more vile content, with solid parental locking capability. Knock, knock Jeffrey Marsh. We don’t have to respect you even a tiny bit. In fact, we despise you for your pride in being a groomer.
But the RESTRICT bill includes no such provisions; it is written without even reference to ““TikTok,” or parent company “ByteDance,” or even “social media.”” Much less the Chinese Communist Party. That mention could be problematic for Gretchen Whitmer, so I get why the bill can’t name China.
TikTok should be certainly be banned on government devices. In fact, any government employee so unaware of TikTok’s pedigree as to have it on their government device should be fired. It’s not like these people aren’t “woke”, of course they are, it’s that they’re not AWARE. But, ignorance is not only not an excuse, it’s a sign of national security cluelessness. Loose clicks sink ships.
Or, more commonsensically, all government devices could ALREADY be set up to prohibit TikTok installation and block any access to it. Do it by executive order, since it affects only employees – supposedly loyal.
However, there’s no surveillance-state advantage in something so simple.
The RESTRICT Act Would Restrict a Lot More Than TikTok
RESTRICT, as written, simply expands and cements the power of government to abrogate the First Amendment as described below.
We can’t shoot down a Chinese spy balloon while it’s actively, successfully spying, but we can extend state control over Americans watching their kids do silly dances on a Chinese spy app – which the government hasn’t absolutely banned on every device it owns.
The rest of this post offers links to some articles which may be too long for your interest. I post them even so because they describe, without hyperbole, an imminently serious threat to the Republic of the United States. Even if you don’t want to spend the time now, they may become a reference for you when you need to provide a Progressive you know with reasoned information about the danger to a way of life they don’t even understand as their own. I have a suggestion.
Who is doing anything about this?
Whether Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter will be successful is a question still in doubt for certain definitions of “success.” I’m looking at it as a defense of Enlightenment values, freedom of conscience being the foundational moral imperative.
I do not think the measure is whether it becomes a profitable business. Musk did not buy it for that reason.
I hope profitability eventuates, because we desperately need a continuing social media space not attached at the hip to, or gripped around the throat by, myriad US agencies forming alliances with private companies eager to subvert the First Amendment.
Significant Twitter personnel changes were a bare start in blunting the public-pirate (AKA fascist) alliance against free speech. More importantly, we have insight to the corruption from Musk’s release of internal documents (the “Twitter Files”) and source code algorithms.
The public’s glimpses into the early stages of the transformation of America from democracy to digital leviathan are the result of lawsuits and FOIAs—information that had to be pried from the security state—and one lucky fluke. If Elon Musk had not decided to purchase Twitter, many of the crucial details in the history of American politics in the Trump era would have remained secret, possibly forever.
That quote is from an important, sober – and sobering – recent history of America’s public/pirate surveillance state.
It’s also long, but if you want to better understand the stakes – and what I hope could eventually be Musk’s success – it is a must read. Incisive and insightful.
A Guide to Understanding the Hoax of the Century – Tablet Magazine
Mentioned in the preceding article, a scathing in depth analysis from the Columbia Journalism Review of the mendacious “Russiagate” media coverage.
The press versus the president, parts one through 4
Running List of All Twitter Files Releases (summarized with links to detail)