A bill was termed as ‘Restrict’ Act The submission to Congress could have serious consequences for Virtual Private Network (VPN) users in the United States.
US lawmakers are raising their sights when it comes to cracking down on finance and technology.
The bipartisan “Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats That Risk Information and Communications Technologies (RESTR)” Act was unveiled in early March.
It was initially dubbed the “TikTok Ban Bill”, but has wider ramifications. Furthermore, VPN users may face heavy fines or even jail terms under the bill.
Communications and VPN Tech Targeted
People often legitimately use VPN (Virtual Private Network) services to add an extra layer of security to web communications. Furthermore, they allow users to modify or change their Internet address. This is often necessary to access content that might otherwise be blocked or censored.
The bill, if passed, would “attempt to identify information and communications technology products and services that pose undue or unacceptable risks.”
This can include VPNs if they are used to access restricted websites like TikTok.
The bill specifically directs the Secretary of Commerce to “identify, prevent, disrupt, prevent, restrict, investigate, or otherwise mitigate” national security risks associated with technology from countries hostile to the US.
Bill also has a long list of communication technologies he wants to investigate. These include web hosting, cloud services, content delivery services, drones, payment applications, gaming applications, artificial intelligence, and e-commerce.
The scary part is the potential punishment for violators. This includes a fine of up to one million dollars or 20 years in prison, or both.
moving forward with tiktok ban
According to reports on March 27, MPs are moving forward with the bill. This comes after the grilling of TikTok CEO Sho Xie Chew last week. The Chinese social media platform has an estimated 150 million users in the United States.
Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy said the House would move forward with the bill.
If passed, the new law would give the US government broad powers to crack down on any technology and services it sees as a threat. Remarkably, this includes VPN technology.
Those opposing the bill say it would give the state the power to monitor the entire internet and any platform on it. Furthermore, some called it “the Chineseization of America”.
The law is frighteningly similar to that of China, which has some of the harshest internet censorship in the world.
BeInCrypto has reached out to the company or individual involved in the story for an official statement regarding the recent developments, but has not yet received a response.