Ramping up the ridiculous without a war
By Tony Farkas
Indelibly etched into the psyche of America is the attack on Sept. 11, 2001, when Islamic “extremists” flew jetliners into the Twin Towers and attempted the same on the Pentagon.
The country, which was reeling, demanded a response, demanded answers, and demanded that the government do its job and ramp up national security.
Part of the response was us beating the snot out of Iraq — again — as well as spending a bit more time not taking our security for granted.
Part of that was a bill euphemistically called the Patriot Act, which granted the government additional powers to keep us safe by spying on … us.
In a nutshell, the Patriot Act gave the government wide latitude in surveillance, increased ability to monitor phone and email traffic, and even the ability to monitor bank transactions, simply by writing a letter requesting the information.
In order to keep us safe forever, a majority of the provisions of the act were made permanent.
We’re currently not in a war, unless you consider crappy 30-second videos a threat as well as an enemy, but the powers that forever be have decided that TikTok, a social media app that many people adore, is a threat to national security.
My daughters really like this app, and in looking at what is produced, it’s really incredibly dumb, pandering to the lowest common denominator of humor. That won’t stop our fearless leaders from going after it, and in March, the Senate introduced the RESTRICT Act.
TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, and because of that, our legislators feel that it is a threat to our security and require the ability to monitor the information that is being sent out by just about everybody.
Problem is, the bill doesn’t specifically mention TikTok. What it does, however, is allow the government, through the Department of Commerce of all places, to “identify and mitigate foreign threats” to the information and communications technology that exists.
It will evaluate all communications products of a foreign nature and take comprehensive actions to address those risks — all at the behest of the Secretary of Commerce.
It doesn’t mention warrants, or courts, or probable cause, or due process, or specific software, or nothing of any substance. It’s just vague politispeak meaning it will do what it wants, and we got nothing to say about it.
Aside from violating a few of the amendments, it’s another example of the government overreacting in its response in its effort to “do something.”
More importantly, and even more insidious, is the government’s need to spy on its own people in the name of safety.
As was in 2001, so again in 2023, we have an overresponse to a threat, and the American people are the ones who are under suspicion.
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