RESTRICT Act

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SolidStateSurvivor
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RESTRICT Act

Post by SolidStateSurvivor »

Hello everyone,

I wanted to bring attention to a recently purposed US senate bill that poses the potential to threaten many digital liberties. Known as S.686 - RESTRICT Act (more commonly known as "the TikTok ban") is a bipartisan supported bill that would grant the US government unprecedent control over what type of internet services you are allowed to access. This includes apps, websites, even video games.

Here's the main highlights/breakdowns of the RESTRICT Act:
This "Restrict Act" is a gateway for the US to justify erecting its own "Great Firewall" of sorts. This is the most serious attempt at regulating the Internet seen in years, and no one seems to be talking about it.

tl;dr: The "Restrict Act" gives the Executive Branch/DOJ broad control with little legislative oversight over anything related to Internet communications and infrastructure. Be it apps, websites, home security services, games, you name it, the govt will be granted to ability to not only to surveil it, but also ban/censor it, and punish anyone who attempts to circumnavigate said bans to access/share restricted content.

If you can, please get the word out about this.
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Re: RESTRICT Act

Post by Starfia »

SolidStateSurvivor – Thank you for trying to raise awareness about the potential consequences of some considered legislation. Vice News did a column on it (good show), and I saw a neighbour at Blue Dwarf had posted about it when you had.

Paranoia and alarmism can be tempting when there's only so much you can know or do about how a nebulous bill is going to affect things, but I think it's better to maintain minimal provisional awareness than to shirk it.
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Re: RESTRICT Act

Post by Ray »

Starfia wrote: Thu Mar 30, 2023 3:50 pm I think it's better to maintain minimal provisional awareness than to shirk it.
Genuinely sorry, but could you rephrase that? :o I'm not a native speaker and am not sure I got your point correctly!

Anyways, thank you both for sharing this info! With legal stuff it's always hard to understand *exactly* what's going on - but even if not all of these point end up being true, I gotta say it's a bad look for the USA to propose something like that.

I assume since it's just a proposal, it still has a bit to go before it's passed? Is there anything US and non US residents can do to educate themselves on what's it about, and possibly influence changes on it before it's passed or rejected?
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Re: RESTRICT Act

Post by Starfia »

Ray wrote: Thu Mar 30, 2023 5:02 pm Genuinely sorry, but could you rephrase that? :o I'm not a native speaker and am not sure I got your point correctly!
Ray – 

I'll try to rephrase: even if you can't control which concerning laws are made, it's still a good habit to be aware of such laws than unaware.

What is your native language? Italian? Thank you for pointing that out – I love becoming aware of where in the world my Internet neighbours are, and I would love to learn more of your language too. ^ ^

I think national security is a legitimate purpose of any government, but the government's power must be proportional and itself subject to law. The concern about this bill is that it might grant enough power to be misused for purposes beyond matters of national security.
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Re: RESTRICT Act

Post by Ray »

Starfia wrote: Thu Mar 30, 2023 5:53 pm Ray – 

I'll try to rephrase: even if you can't control which concerning laws are made, it's still a good habit to be aware of such laws than unaware.

What is your native language? Italian? Thank you for pointing that out – I love becoming aware of where in the world my Internet neighbours are, and I would love to learn more of your language too. ^ ^

I think national security is a legitimate purpose of any government, but the government's power must be proportional and itself subject to law. The concern about this bill is that it might grant enough power to be misused for purposes beyond matters of national security.
Thank you for your patience <3! I do agree with you then. I feel that it's really easy to stay unaware of things concerning lawmaking especially, because there often isn't much effort (if any at all) from official statal sources to explain them in a comprehensible way to common people. Mysterious laws are an issue in my country, but by what I can see it might be a global issue, really?
Can't really tell if it's out of an interest to keep things murky for the uninitiated (in case they'd disagree), lack of resources in that area specifically, or just lack of interest from the public in the first place.
But what ends up happening is that it's often up to newspapers to then explain what's going on - and only the "juicy" bits will get the most coverage, and newspapers will often try to spin them in some way or the other to get more attention. I feel like it's really hard to find objective info that help you understand and make your own ideas concerning this sort of things, like laws, government decisions, etc.

I'm pretty ashamed to say that I'm very law-illiterate :'D and I don't really have a clue how to get started, either - without actually studying really complex stuff. I often wish for more people to be like science communicators, but for themes related to society and political happenings. Although I guess it's simply so much harder to remain unbiased, when every one of us has a political leaning - and since anything man-made isn't as clear cut as like... physics. I dunno, I hope this made sense.

And yeah, I'm always down for some language talk! :D English is pretty fascinating - I'd argue it's an easier language to learn compared to Italian, overall, but it might also be because I tend to read (and speak) a pretty simplified version of English, with a pretty small vocaboulary. English literature still kicks my ass, and I literally had never heard "to shirk" before (but love how it does sound like "to shrink away from" even in sound, very apt!)
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Re: RESTRICT Act

Post by madness »

let's read the bill!
To authorize the Secretary of Commerce to review and prohibit certain transactions between persons in the United States and foreign adversaries, and for other purposes.
(17) TRANSACTION.—The term “transaction” means any acquisition, importation, transfer, installation, dealing in, or use of any information and communications technology product or service, including ongoing activities such as managed services, data transmission, software updates, repairs, or the provision of data hosting services, or a class of such transactions.
(4) COVERED TRANSACTION.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The term “covered transaction” means a transaction in which an entity described in subparagraph (B) has any interest (including through an interest in a contract for the provision of the technology or service), or any class of such transactions.
(B) COVERED ENTITIES.—The entities described in this subparagraph are:

(i) a foreign adversary;
(8) FOREIGN ADVERSARY.—The term “foreign adversary”—

(A) means any foreign government or regime, determined by the Secretary, pursuant to sections 3 and 5, to have engaged in a long-term pattern or serious instances of conduct significantly adverse to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons;
address any risk arising from any covered transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States that the Secretary determines—

...

(D) coercive or criminal activities by a foreign adversary that are designed to undermine democratic processes and institutions or steer policy and regulatory decisions in favor of the strategic objectives of a foreign adversary to the detriment of the national security of the United States, as determined in coordination with the Attorney General, the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of Treasury, and the Federal Election Commission; or

(2) otherwise poses an undue or unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the safety of United States persons.
(a) Priority information and communications technology areas.—In carrying out sections 3 and 4, the Secretary shall prioritize evaluation of—

...

(6) software designed or used primarily for connecting with and communicating via the internet that is in use by greater than 1,000,000 persons in the United States at any point during the year period preceding the date on which the covered transaction is referred to the Secretary for review or the Secretary initiates review of the covered transaction, including—

...

(E) web-based applications;
(a) Unlawful acts.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—It shall be unlawful for a person to violate, attempt to violate, conspire to violate, or cause a violation of any regulation, order, direction, mitigation measure, prohibition, or other authorization or directive issued under this Act, including any of the unlawful acts described in paragraph (2).

(2) SPECIFIC UNLAWFUL ACTS.—The unlawful acts described in this paragraph are the following:

...
(1) IN GENERAL.—A person who willfully commits, willfully attempts to commit, or willfully conspires to commit, or aids or abets in the commission of an unlawful act described in subsection (a) shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $1,000,000, or if a natural person, may be imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both.

(2) CIVIL FORFEITURE.—

(3) CRIMINAL FORFEITURE.—
(13) PERSON.—The term “person” means a natural person, including a citizen or national of the United States or of any foreign country.
(emphases mine)

sounds pretty terrible to me jajajajaj and anyone who disagrees with me is a foreign adversary
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Re: RESTRICT Act

Post by Ray »

madness wrote: Fri Mar 31, 2023 9:56 am let's read the bill!
To authorize the Secretary of Commerce to review and prohibit certain transactions between persons in the United States and foreign adversaries, and for other purposes.
(4) COVERED TRANSACTION.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The term “covered transaction” means a transaction in which an entity described in subparagraph (B) has any interest (including through an interest in a contract for the provision of the technology or service), or any class of such transactions.

(B) COVERED ENTITIES.—The entities described in this subparagraph are:

(i) a foreign adversary;
What does it mean when it says "transactions"? "The term “covered transaction” means a transaction in which an entity described in subparagraph (B) has any interest" seem nonsensical to me so I must be missing something :o is it like... Broad spectrum "any interaction online with a 'foreign adversary' entity"? Or monetary transaction?

(Please don't feel like you need to explain it to me tho, I just quoted your post to quote the part I'm confused about)
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Re: RESTRICT Act

Post by madness »

Ray wrote: Fri Mar 31, 2023 10:40 am What does it mean when it says "transactions"?
sorry, I forgot to include that part! I put in my original post but here it is:
(17) TRANSACTION.—The term “transaction” means any acquisition, importation, transfer, installation, dealing in, or use of any information and communications technology product or service, including ongoing activities such as managed services, data transmission, software updates, repairs, or the provision of data hosting services, or a class of such transactions.
because it says "use of" it seems pretty broad to me
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Re: RESTRICT Act

Post by Ray »

madness wrote: Fri Mar 31, 2023 11:00 am
Ray wrote: Fri Mar 31, 2023 10:40 am What does it mean when it says "transactions"?
sorry, I forgot to include that part! I put in my original post but here it is:
(17) TRANSACTION.—The term “transaction” means any acquisition, importation, transfer, installation, dealing in, or use of any information and communications technology product or service, including ongoing activities such as managed services, data transmission, software updates, repairs, or the provision of data hosting services, or a class of such transactions.
because it says "use of" it seems pretty broad to me
Ahh thank you for diggin thru the bill and sharing these relevant tidbits! I had tried looking for it to read it but felt so defeated when I saw it was 50 pages :')

I was a bit skeptical about this at first, because the first time I head this bill mentioned was in a space that shares a lot of borderline conspiracy stuff. But the more I read about this the more it looks absurd and potentially very harmful. I know that this is the direction the USA had been heading about in the last years so it shouldn't be surprising but damn. If it will pass (by what I understand it has a very wide support), I think it will set a dangerous precedent. Many western countries pretty much look at what the USA is doing, and this feels like proposing to break a taboo of sorts.
I think in the case of a bill like this that casts such a wide net and leaves open so much possibilities for future abuses of power, "paranoia" is more than justified ;_;
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Re: RESTRICT Act

Post by Cobra! »

Yeah, in my opinion, if the US passes this bill, it waivers any right to call itself free.
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Re: RESTRICT Act

Post by OppositeKeith »

not surprised, the USA will get its grimy hands on this sort of stuff any way it could. having the whole "banning TikTok" basically be a charade while the rest of the things being added here will be under it. i hope word of this goes fast soon.
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