What Happens When Uncle Sam Tells You to Uninstall TikTok?

If you thought it was risky to tell your parents you weren’t doing your homework and were instead scrolling on TikTok, what would you do if it garnered you a 20-year jail sentence? Luckily, this is still just a suggestion, as the recently proposed RESTRICT Act seeks to deter use of applications the US government deems to be a security risk.

Breaking Down The RESTRICT Act

At its core, the RESTRICT Act, an acronym for “Restricting Entertainment Software and Technology Communications In Our World”, seeks to prevent US citizens from accessing applications deemed to be a risk to national security. Though it reads as shocking, the proposed jail term comes with brevity: 20 years is the MAXIMUM penalty that could be imposed for downloading such apps.

What Apps Are We Talking About Here?

Before we start panicking and uninstalling anything and everything, it’s important to consider exactly which apps this bill refers to. Here’s a list of the names you should take note of:

  • TikTok
  • WeChat
  • Alipay
  • QQ

These apps are often associated with the Chinese tech giant, Tencent, and the Chinese government. As such, they are the primary targets of the bill, and the jail time would only be meted out should the US government deem them to be a security risk to the nation.

Will We See This In Action?

Though the RESTRICT Act is only currently as a suggestion, it highlights the tricky and tense relationship between social media apps, governments, and tech companies. From a US standpoint, the hope is that it would dissuade any US citizens from using apps with strong Chinese backing.

Given the current presidential administration’s distaste for the Chinese government and its tech companies, however, it’s highly unlikely the bill will be relegated to the trash heap anytime soon.

Final Thoughts

In an age where technology is touchier and more intertwined than ever before, the proposed RESTRICT Act speaks to a desire for governments to control what their citizens are accessing and downloading.

Though the 20-year jail time might seem a little harsh, it’s probably not so extreme that (hopefully) we’ll actually have to concern ourselves with the bill or its repercussions. So, if you were wondering if you should snag that TikTok account, by all means – the coast is still clear!