Many people came together to protest SOPA and PIPA last week, in fact, it was the largest online protest in history and helped lead to SOPA and PIPA being tabled (for the time being). Of course, with these bills being tabled should not come peace. The most obvious course is for legislators to add the most offensive parts of SOPA and PIPA to another bill and quickly pass it.
Meet HR 1981 – “Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011”
We all want to protect children from internet pronographers, right? Despite the underlying argument of the age of consent, we can all agree that there is an age in which children cannot legally comprehend enough to agree to sexual acts. So wouldn’t we all want to protect these children from internet pornographers?
No one wants to be that guy, you know, the one who votes against the children. So what’s hidden in the “Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011”?
(I should add by the way that this bill was sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith, the same representative who sponsored SOPA.)
It’s their solution that appalls me: under language approved 19 to 10 by a House committee, the firm that sells you Internet access would be required to track all of your Internet activity and save it for 18 months, along with your name, the address where you live, your bank account numbers, your credit card numbers, and IP addresses you’ve been assigned.
Tracking the private daily behavior of everyone in order to help catch a small number of child criminals is itself the noxious practice of police states. Said an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation: “The data retention mandate in this bill would treat every Internet user like a criminal and threaten the online privacy and free speech rights of every American.” Even more troubling is what the government would need to do in order to access this trove of private information: ask for it.
In other words, if you use Verizon for your home internet, Verizon will be legally required to keep 18 months of your activity saved on file. Guess what else:
As written, The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 doesn’t require that someone be under investigation on child pornography charges in order for police to access their Internet history — being suspected of any crime is enough. (It may even be made available in civil matters like divorce trials or child custody battles.) Nor do police need probable cause to search this information. As Rep. James Sensenbrenner says, (R-Wisc.) “It poses numerous risks that well outweigh any benefits, and I’m not convinced it will contribute in a significant way to protecting children.”
Probable cause is not needed. You don’t have to under investigation for child pornography charges. You just have to be suspected of ANY crime.
Looks to me like Rep. Lamar Smith has forgotten what his job is… representing the people and protecting their Constitutional Rights. Maybe he thinks he has to take your rights to protect them.