The RESTRICT Act will usher in a new era of censorship under the guise of “national security” 45 days after 9/11, the United States government passed the PATRIOT Act — a chilling law that used the guise of “national security” to greatly expand the federal government’s secret surveillance powers. Almost 23 years later, another far-reaching bill, the “Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act,” better known by its acronym, the RESTRICT Act, is using the same national security talking point to justify further federal government encroachment on Americans’ rights. Although the bill doesn’t mention TikTok, its authors, Democratic Senator Mark Warner and Republican Senator John Thune, have framed it as “the best way to counter the TikTok threat.” However, the impact of the bill extends far beyond TikTok and gives the US government sweeping powers to ban a wide range of apps and services. The bill authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to review and prohibit “current, past, or potential future transactions” involving technology products or services with more than one million US-based annual active users that: Are deemed to pose an “undue or unacceptable risk” in various areas (such as national security and election interference) Involve anyone determined to be “owned, directed, or controlled” by a “foreign adversary” (a term that can currently be applied to China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela but can be extended to other nations by the Secretary) The Secretary of Commerce can also refer these tech products and services to the President who can take action to “compel divestment of, or otherwise mitigate…The RESTRICT Act will usher in a new era of censorship under the guise of “national security”