20 Years in Jail for using a VPN
The Restrict Act (Bill S686) is the latest attack on Americans by Washington lawmakers. Many will be aware by now that our greatest enemies aren’t overseas in Russia or China. The greatest threat to our freedom are our own governments. Governments in our home countries can directly harm us today.
The Restrict Act is one example of that. The bill has support from both Democrats and Republicans. It’s also supported by The Whitehouse. It seeks to give The Commerce Secretary the right to ban foreign apps that have more than one million users.
The bill doesn’t define how these foreign apps will be classified as dangerous to Americans.
TikTok Ban is the Restrict Act Target
One obvious example of an app that the US government would like to ban is TikTok, the video sharing app. This app is one of the most popular apps in the world.
It doesn’t appear any more harmful than any US based social media apps. All are probably destructive. They can cause people to waste their time on unproductive activities. However anyone should be free to waste their own time however they choose.
I suspect the US government is perturbed that they can’t spy on their citizens on TikTok easily. They routinely spy on users of Facebook and Google.
We recently saw, with the release of the Twitter files how US government agencies routinely spied on and censored American citizens.
Particularly those who were not following the government’s narrative.
Of course the US government realize that it’s not so easy just to ban a popular application. People are well aware that there are ways around censorship.
VPN Use Subject to Severe Penalties in the Restrict Act
It’s easy to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to circumvent censorship. Anyone who wants to continue to access banned apps will simply login with a VPN which will disguise their location. A user can be in New York, but by using a VPN, appear to be in New Delhi. It’s that simple with commercially available VPN apps.
Bill S686, also known as the restrict act is with Congress now. It will impose a fine of $250,000 on anyone who tries to access a foreign app banned in the US. That could be by using a VPN or by other means.
What’s more, a penalty of up to 20 years in prison can also be imposed. The US government doesn’t believe that citizens can be trusted to think for themselves. They want to control every aspect of our lives.
Other Countries are increasing Censorship Too
Of course the US government is not the only one playing the censorship game. The Restrict Act isn’t the only assault on freedom.
France recently banned the video app Rumble. Rumble is a free speech video sharing app. They refused to ban Russian news network RT when they were instructed to do so by the French government.
The UK government has a bill going through its parliament that seeks to give the government a backdoor to bypass end to end encryption.
Apps a that will be affected such as WhatsApp and Signal are not impressed. They have declared that they will stop offering their apps in the UK rather than give the government backdoor access.
These trends are gathering pace in the west. The English speaking world seems to be at the forefront of attacks on freedom. No reversal is in sight.