By Steve Schuster
Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined a bipartisan effort to introduce legislation giving the federal government more powers to regulate foreign social media platforms that officials say pose a threat to represent our national security.
“We must protect Americans’ privacy and protect our country from the threats of today and tomorrow. While many of these foreign-owned technology products and social media platforms like TikTok are extremely popular, we also know that these products can pose a serious threat to Wisconsin users and threaten our national security,” Baldwin said.
The legislation — “The Restrict Act” — isn’t specifically targeting TikTok, but instead enhances the government’s “whack-a-mole” approach to foreign tech risks, according to one of the bill’s main sponsors, Mark Warner (D-VA).
Earlier this year, after consulting with the FBI and other officials, Gov. Tony Evers banned TikTok on state employees’ phones.
At the time, Evers tweeted, “Defending our state’s technology and cybersecurity infrastructure and protecting digital privacy will continue to be our top priorities.”
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement that the bill would “bolster our ability to address discrete risks posed by individual transactions and systemic risks posed by certain types of transactions involving countries of concern in sensitive technology sectors.” are.”
In December last year, US Rep. Mike Gallagher (D-Green Bay) co-sponsored legislation calling for a ban on TikTok.
“TikTok is digital fentanyl that addicts Americans, collects tons of their data and censors their messages. It’s also an increasingly powerful media company owned by ByteDance, which is ultimately subordinate to the Chinese Communist Party — America’s main adversary,” Rep. Gallagher said.
Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, the RESTRICT Act establishes a risk-based process tailored to the rapidly changing technology and threat environment by directing the Department of Commerce to identify and mitigate foreign threats to information and communications technology products and services.” , said Baldwin .
In addition to Sens. Baldwin, Mark Warner and John Thune, the Legislature will be led by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Mitt Romney (R-UT).
According to Baldwin, the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act would:
Request the Secretary of Commerce to establish procedures to identify, deter, disrupt, prevent, prohibit and mitigate transactions involving information and communications technology products in which a foreign adversary has an interest and an unreasonable or unacceptable risk to the represents national security; Prioritize the assessment of information communications and technology products used in critical infrastructure, integral parts of telecommunications products, or related to a defined set of new, fundamental and disruptive technologies with severe national security implications; Ensuring comprehensive measures to address the risks of untrustworthy foreign information communications and technology products by asking the Minister to take into account the activities of concern identified by other government agencies; Educate the public and business community about the threat by requesting the Secretary of Commerce to coordinate with the Director of National Intelligence to provide released information on how denied or otherwise mitigated transactions pose an unreasonable or unacceptable risk.
A copy of the legal text can be found here.