Legislation is making its way through Congress that could give the government unprecedented power to snoop on your internet activity – all under the disguise of preventing China from spying on your internet activity. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: Litigation is making its way through Congress that could give the government unprecedented power to snoop on your internet activity all under the disguise of preventing China from spying on your internet activity. Wow. You know what, let me jump back in time. The first time you saw this story about TikTok, you know what you said to me, you said Pap, let me tell you where it’s going. And we sat and talked about it and we said, absolutely this is where it’s going. Tell us where we are with this internet ridiculous story.

Farron Cousins: We’re actually even worse with this legislation than I would’ve thought because what this, the Restrict Act is what it’s called, and there’s no mention of TikTok in it, even though it’s supposed to be the bill to ban TikTok and China from taking your data. And what it does is it creates this board controlled by the president of the United States because the Democrats I think don’t understand that Biden’s not gonna be president forever.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Or maybe not even the next time probably, you know.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. So, you know, you’re gonna put a horrible person, you know, maybe there already is one in charge. But anyway, it creates this board that is gonna have broad jurisdiction, no judicial oversight to accuse any American of engaging in illegal activity online and they immediately get that user’s entire internet history. Their online purchase information, everything that person has ever done online. And you can’t appeal it. You can’t take it to a court. You cannot challenge it. This is dictatorship.

Mike Papantonio: Well, okay. There is no, there’s no appellate process. There’s no review at all. The committee that makes the decision was appointed by the president that makes the decision, I don’t really like this. Let’s wipe it out. There’s, you have no idea even why they’ve wiped, even why you’ve become a target. They don’t have a duty to even tell you why you’ve become. Mark Warner, now, Mark Warner, Democrat from Virginia, he’s the guy behind this. He’s there with John Thune. And they’re, they say, oh, this is brilliant. Mark Warner, Democrat from Virginia is the guy that helped draft this. He’s the one pushing it. And this is like a nightmare. You know, I hate, I hate to use 1984. Everybody, you know, every jerkwater in the world, 1984. But this really is.

Farron Cousins: It truly is. And look, you could be facing 20 years in prison if you use a VPN to access a banned website like TikTok.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Or up to a million dollars in fines. So if you get on TikTok with a VPN, if we’ve banned it, you could have to pay a million dollars just to be on TikTok for a few minutes. This is insane.

Mike Papantonio: Here’s my prediction. Biden is not gonna be reelected. Okay. He’s not. I don’t know who it is, but he’s not gonna be reelected. You’re gonna have the Republican, maybe another Democrat, I don’t, I’m not sure. But you’re gonna have a different person making these decisions. So if you’re saying, oh, well I’m good with Biden making these decisions, you better be able to say, oh, I’m good with Trump making these decisions or DeSantis making these decisions. I’m fine with that. You better be able to say that before you swallow this ridiculous story. Right?

Farron Cousins: Absolutely. And I’ll tell you how bad this legislation is. You have AOC, Tucker Carlson, Alex Jones, Josh Hawley, Jamaal Bowman, conservative media outlets, Fox News, liberal media outlets, everybody is united in warning about how terrible this is. And when you’ve managed to unite the entire country with how bad your legislation is, that should be clue number one.

Mike Papantonio: I have got to read this. Let’s take a second. This is the response, this is the committee’s response when ProPublica asked them, what the hell, what are you doing? Here’s what they said. Well, this gives us the ability to mitigate the national security risk posed by high risk technology business in the US and would strengthen our ability to address discrete risks posed by individual transactions and systematic risks posed by certain classes of transactions involving countries of unknown concern and unknown sensitivity. What the hell? That’s word salad. And so this word salad is what they’re telling everybody. Basically, that means nothing to me. It’s as vague as the, it’s as vague as the legislation itself

Farron Cousins: To me what that means is, listen, Americans, if anybody’s gonna be stealing your data, it’s gonna be your own government. That’s what that means.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. And you’re gonna be okay because Biden, Biden’s a good guy, and he’s not gonna let anything bad happen. And maybe Trump won’t either. Maybe DeSantis won’t either. God Almighty. Farron Cousins, thank you for joining me.

Farron Cousins: Thank you.

Mike Papantonio: That’s all for this week, but all these segments are gonna be available throughout next week. And make sure you follow us on Twitter @AmericasLawyer. I’m Mike Papantonio and this has been America’s Lawyer, where we tell you the stories every week that corporate media won’t tell you because their advertisers don’t let ’em, or their political connections to the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, they don’t allow for it. We’ll see you next time.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.