Congress Can Only Take Away Your TikTok If You Let Them

Photo by Solen Feyissa. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
Photo by Solen Feyissa. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

On March 13, the US House of Representatives passed HR 7521, the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act.” The bill, which would attempt to ban the social media app TikTok unless its Chinese owners, ByteDance, sell it to non-Chinese owners, faces an uncertain future in the Senate, but president Joe Biden says he’ll sign it if it passes.

I don’t find the prospect of an attempt to ban TikTok unsettling, precisely because of the word “attempt.”

At present, only about 170 million Americans use TikTok. If this bill passes, that number is likely to go up, not down — and it’s likely to do so in ways that educate an entire new generation of Americans on how to find ways around the orders of their would-be masters in Washington.

There’s nothing new about that. Older Americans remember learning how to copy software, share music, encrypt files (and, later, currency), obtain marijuana, etc. when previous generations of politicians got the silly idea that they were in charge and could order us around.

None of that, however, exonerates the 352 Republican and Democratic members of Congress who voted for this idiotic, and patently unconstitutional, and irrefutably un-American, bill.

Under the guise of “protecting” Americans from the People’s Republic of China — one of the rotating cast members in a perpetual Enemy of the Week scam — those evil-doers unmasked themselves, most of them not for the first time, as clones of that country’s Communist Party apparatus.

Their “national security concerns” are risible, and their feigned concern for your privacy notably doesn’t extend to “protecting” you from surveillance by any or all of their own “alphabet soup” law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

The proposed TikTok ban isn’t about “national security,” nor is it about your privacy.

It’s about cultivating short-term moral panic for their political benefit.

It’s about establishing their longer-term control over anything and everything you might choose to do.

And it won’t take long to learn which¬† American Big Tech lobbyists and campaign contributors it was ALWAYS about giving an economic gift to.

The best way to respond to this attack on your rights is to install TikTok on your devices, start educating yourself on how to keep it there (or, if necessary, reinstall it) if the bill becomes law, and spread the word.

If you’re more politically inclined, you can find the roll call vote on the bill here …

https://clerk.house.gov/Votes/202486

… and vote accordingly in November.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

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