Ben Sperry on the TikTok Bill

New York Sun View Original Source

ICLE Senior Scholar Ben Sperry was quoted by the New York Sun in a story about President Joe Biden signing legislation that would force ByteDance to sell its stake in TikTok. You can read the full piece here.

“Do we really want to set the precedent that it’s a good thing to shut down communications platforms?” the analyst, Ben Sperry, a senior scholar at the International Center for Law & Economics, tells the Sun. He filed an amicus brief in a suit against the president. “Yes, we should make sure Americans are protected, but I think we all hope for more obvious evidence of harm to America’s national security.”

…That broad scope mitigates the risk of it becoming a bill of attainder, an expressly forbidden act that abridges due process, Mr. Sperry says. Yet, he asks, “what does it mean to be under the influence and control of a hostile foreign nation?” The legislation, as it’s written, fails to answer that question.

…Though some argue that foreign entities do not have constitutional rights, Mr. Sperry says, “corporations that have some degree of foreign ownership are allowed to participate in the marketplace of ideas as a general matter.”

…The government could also see lawsuits from Americans themselves. Businesses and services that use TikTok to promote their products, as well as consumers of that content, might invoke their First Amendment rights to access or promote their products, Mr. Sperry says.

…Mr. Sperry invokes another analogy. He calls the unfolding battle “a cat and mouse game between technology and the law, and the law might win — or at least win enough that most people won’t use the technology anymore.” Be it a “cat,” or a “dictator,” Communist China could retaliate through measures to stop Americans from conducting business on their turf.