‘Clear Threat’: Critics Raise Concern ‘RESTRICT’ Act Empowers Biden While Leaving Chinese ‘Spyware’ In Place

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by DIANA GLEBOVA by dailycaller.com

The RESTRICT Act — one of the bills currently in the Senate which could ban TikTok — has the potential to provide President Joe Biden with “new authority” while doing nothing to stop the Chinese-based app, Republican lawmakers and digital rights activists warn.

The White House has endorsed the legislation and has urged Congress to send it to Biden’s desk, applauding the bipartisan efforts of Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and Republican South Dakota Sen. John Thune.

The endorsement came shortly after the Chinese-based app hired SKDK — a PR firm filled with former senior figures in the Biden administration — to help with policy communications, Politico reported. White House senior adviser Anita Dunn, who is a founding partner of SKDK, encouraged allies to use the app before Biden’s State of the Union address, according to the outlet.

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates told Politico that Dunn’s directions were not new: “we work with outside supporters to spread our message on the major social media platforms, including TikTok.”

TikTok has become a key element of the Biden administration’s strategy towards targeting younger voters. The White House has invited influencers from TikTok to spread Biden’s agenda, and his 2020 campaign relied on the app.

Unlike other bills currently in Congress, the RESTRICT Act does not mention “TikTok” by name, and instead establishes a framework to counter transactions between persons in the U.S. and “foreign adversaries.” The measure gives the Commerce Department the power to decide who is deemed a “foreign adversary,” albeit with a possibility for Congressional overrule. It also allows the department to apply “mitigation” measures against “information and communication technology products and services” that “pose undue or unacceptable risk.”

The bill’s language, which critics say is too “vague,” includes a provision for the secretary of commerce to “prioritize evaluation” of wireless local area networks; mobile networks; satellite payloads; satellite operations and control; cable access points; wireline access points; core networking systems; long-, short-, and back-haul networks; and edge computer platforms.

Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who has proposed his own legislation specifically targeting TikTok, criticized the bill for not going directly after the Chinese-based app and giving “open-ended authority to federal bureaucrats.”

“We should act decisively to ban TikTok directly. We shouldn’t give new open-ended authority to federal bureaucrats. We should target this threat specifically,” Hawley said.

Fox News host Jesse Waters pressed Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on whether the “garbage” bill is a way to “spy” on American citizens.

Graham, despite being a proponent of the bill, said he “doesn’t support” the RESTRICT Act, and that he would “come back” to Watters once he read what was in the legislation.

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