It’s not just TikTok – all apps banned by the Restrictions Act

Digital technology is at the heart of everyday life and national security concerns have increased. The Restricting Emergence of Security Threats Risking Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act is the latest legislative proposal to reduce the risks associated with foreign technology.

While TikTok has been the face of this legislation, in reality the impact of the RESTRICT Act extends far beyond a single social media platform. From VPNs to the digital economy, the scope of the Act is much greater.

Unraveling all applications banned by the RESTRICT Act

The RESTRICT bill, advocated by Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Senator John Thune (R-SD), does not specifically target TikTok or its parent company, ByteDance. Rather, it gives broad powers to the government.

In particular, the Secretary of Commerce may investigate and prohibit certain transactions between the United States and foreign adversaries involving information and communications technology.

The bill’s framework allows the government to act against technology developed wholly or partly in countries that resist repression of cryptography, encryption, or online speech. It has a potentially far-reaching impact on various digital tools and platforms.

Popular social networks around the world
Popular social networks around the world. source: statistics

For example, applications such as Telegram and Badoo, developed in Russia, can be analyzed. Devices from Beijing-based Lenovo, which provides solutions for government institutions, healthcare and large enterprises, may also come under the microscope.

Other potentially compromised technologies include the TP-Link router, founded in China. So are digital services like Amazon Web Services or Rackspace that are hosted in China.

Basic concerns and potential implications

The RESTRICT Act protects against foreign adversaries who could potentially sabotage ICT products or services. It also aims to prevent damage to critical infrastructure, interfere with federal elections, and manipulate U.S. policies and regulations.

It is designed to protect the United States from threats posed by foreign adversaries. Especially those who have access to content that Americans share publicly and privately.

The RESTRICT Act can lead to various effects. Entities from some countries may face pressure to sell their shares in technology widely used by Americans. Alternatively, regulations can push companies to update their data processing processes and establish transparent policies.

The language of the bill, however, raises concerns among Americans about the scope of the government’s action. It may affect any hardware, software, product, service or application associated with an entity in a foreign country that is considered an enemy.

This includes various activities such as website hosting, content delivery networks, cloud storage and artificial intelligence. In addition, machine learning, webcams, drones, desktop and mobile applications, games, payments, e-commerce, marketplaces, managed services, data transmission and more.

Individual data and government power

Companies have different guidelines for the conditions under which they share user data with law enforcement and government agencies. Data available to the United States during this investigation may include information, documents and reports related to the activities under investigation.

The secretary may disclose non-public or commercially available information if it is in the national interest or permitted by federal law.

The RESTRICT Act is aimed at corporations. Still, the language in the penalties section raises questions about whether individuals can also be punished for using a banned app through a virtual private network (VPN) or onion services.

The repercussions of the RESTRICT Act matter for several reasons:

  • First, there is the issue of privacy and the government’s authority to access data. Users must understand how their information can be accessed and used.
  • Second, regulations can significantly impact the tech industry, potentially changing the landscape of available apps and services. This can lead to a reduction in the variety of applications available, stifling innovation and limiting consumer choice.

Bigger Than TikTok: All Apps Banned by Restrictions Act

While TikTok has been a notable target due to its huge user base and Chinese ownership, the RESTRICT Act affects a much larger part of the tech industry.

Companies developing technology in countries designated hostile by the United States must evaluate their data processing operations and processes to ensure they are not violating the act. This includes social media applications, devices and cloud storage solutions.

apps banned under the TikTok Market Share Act
TikTok market share. source: statistics

The analysis and potential passage of the RESTRICT Act clearly shows that its effects will be far-reaching.

The legislation reminds you of the balance between national security and individual privacy. Especially between government oversight and technological innovation.

As users, it is essential to stay informed and understand how such regulations may affect the technology we rely on every day.


In line with Trust Project guidelines, this article contains the views and perspectives of industry experts or individuals. BeInCrypto is dedicated to transparent reporting, but the views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of BeInCrypto or its employees. Readers should self-verify the information and consult a professional before making a decision based on this content.

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