Banning TikTok will not protect children. It is the opening up to Internet censorship

 Banning TikTok will not protect children.  It is the opening up to Internet censorship

If the pandemic taught me anything, it was that our government is filled with short-sighted, corrupt, and inept actors who will rationalize any action, however harmful it may be to the majority, in the name of security and supposed security. Even the terms “safety,” “protection,” and “emergency” have been bastardized to the point of becoming rhetorically flexible terminology that can be adapted to create the most desirable outcome not for the American people but for the American government.

Montana’s ban on TikTok is another such episode. Last week, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed a bill banning TikTok in the state and from Apple and Google app stores within its borders, in the name of protecting Montana residents from a foreign adversary and the trend to degeneration. In fact, it’s a tragic example of yet another short-sighted government action that promises to be the start of a trend of violating Americans’ rights.

While the bill, known as SB 419, cites concerns about alleged surveillance by the Chinese government, it also streamlines the ban based on what Gianforte’s administration believes is TikTok’s habit of encouraging “dangerous activity” among younger users, things like “throwing things at moving cars” and “lighting a mirror on fire and then trying to put it out using only your body parts”.

While many Republicans are applauding this superficial effort to annoy the Communist Party of China, I see this landmark legislation for what it really is: a Trojan horse to normalize and streamline Internet censorship.

A stock photo of people using smartphones iStock/Getty images

The “Twitter Files” have repeatedly shown us how desperate US government departments are to censor ordinary people’s speech under the guise of protecting the American public from “misinformation.” And I don’t see this action taken by the state of Montana as any different.

If the government can rationalize banning a website or application to “protect” Americans from a “security risk,” what else could it ban the internet for your own safety? What’s stopping Democrats from framing Twitter as a security risk, because they no longer play nice with the behind-the-scenes security state?

While I agree that government officials or anyone in an important corporate position shouldn’t be using TikTok on their phones due to the risk of snooping, there is this illusion that our data is ours, when in truth everything what we do on the internet has long been sold to marketers and data brokers around the world decades ago.

What prevents the CCP from buying this data from third parties? Nothing. Heck, the US government does that all the time.

No one can tell you exactly what will happen if the CCP has data on your 18-year-old’s TikTok usage, but we should raise hell on this as Google and Apple have been mining data from millions of Americans for years.

The truth is that this ban will not be as effective as they claim. There is nothing stopping someone in Montana from connecting to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection flagged in a different state to continue using the platform, which means the next battle will be over the legality of VPNs or at the very least , which regulates VPNs.

Their other justification for banning TikTok is TikTok’s facilitation of idiotic behavior by young people. But perhaps, unfortunately, the government cannot legislate stupidity; if he could, many politicians would not have a job.

Young people with immature brains who are highly impulsive did stupid and dangerous things long before social media existed. Alone in my life, I’ve seen the backyard wrestling craze and obsession with mimicking the reckless behavior of MTV’s Jackass; none of this is new.

Instead of getting the government to block our children from using TikTok, perhaps more American parents need to act like parents and limit themselves.

Chinese companies, and by extension the CCP, have invested more than $190 billion between 2005 and 2022 in nearly every major sector in America, including real estate, energy and entertainment. The Chinese have long since integrated into our economy, yet our government does nothing about it. But should you be clutching your pearls and wanting censorship because they know what kind of makeup your daughter likes to apply?

It’s time to see this for what it is: an excuse to start a mass censorship program. Don’t be fooled and don’t support it.

Adam B. Coleman is the author of “Black Victim To Black Victor” and Substack writer at adambcoleman.substack.com.

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer.

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