The Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). The bill would allow the Department of Commerce to review and ban any foreign-based technologies that pose a risk to national security by use of Americans’ user data.
The White House signaled support of the bill urging Congress to “act swiftly.”
“This legislation would empower the United States government to prevent certain foreign governments from exploiting technology services operating in the United States in a way that poses risks to Americans’ sensitive data and our national security,” the White House said in a statement. “We look forward to continue working with both Democrats and Republicans on this bill, and urge Congress to act quickly to send it to the President’s desk.”
Civil rights groups and journalists alike are concerned that American data could be compromised or shared with foreign governments. While the bill doesn’t mention TikTok by name, it is believed to be aimed at the Chinese-owned technology.
“The RESTRICT Act actually strengthens the federal government’s hand, creating a more robust backstop—such as an outright ban—if TikTok sought to challenge or refuse to comply with a divestiture order,” Sen. Warner’s office said.
According to the White House website, the bill “would provide the U.S. government with new mechanisms to mitigate the national security risks posed by high-risk technology businesses operating in the United States” and strengthen the nation’s ability to “address discrete risks posed by individual transactions, and systemic risks posed by certain classes of transactions involving countries of concern in sensitive technology sectors.”
“This will help us address the threats we face today, and also prevent such risks from arising in the future,” the White House said in a statement.