TikTok bills could dangerously expand national security state

March 31, 2023

Those raising the alarm about Chinese ownership of TikTok cite invasive surveillance practices, privacy violations created by excessive collection and exploitation of user data, addictive design features, and harmful content. Some also go further by claiming that TikTok could be used to compromise the security of devices on which it is installed. But that’s not true of S 686, the RESTRICT Act, the Senate “TikTok bill,” which has significant momentum toward passage. This kind of censorship, based on foreign ownership rather than content, has not been tested under First Amendment law, but it could have profound implications. But for those who wish to expand the power of the national security state, the sweeping nature of these proposals might be a feature, not a bug.