What if I told you there was a bill that would make it easier for law enforcement to stop child pornography and protect children, would you be for it. What if I told you that there was a bill that forced ISP to retain their customer names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers and temporary assigned ISP addresses. What would you think of that bill. Well, what you say if I told you it was all the same bill, well it is. The House Judiciary Committee passed HR 1981- The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011. If this bill passes the full House and Senate and becomes law it would require ISPs to keep 12 months worth of personal information. Anyone with access to the information would be able to tell what web sites you visited and what content you posted on-line. Those who support the legislation say it will help law enforcement fight child pornography, because there will be a semi-permit record to follow and the pornographers will not be able to hide their tracks. Those who oppose the legislation including the EFF say it assumes that everyone is guilty and that it erodes the rights of everyone online.
Of course the title of this bill, makes being against it difficult. What nobler cause is there then being against child pornography. The problem with this line of thinking is that it is so easy to give up rights in the name of security or to protect a vulnerable group, it is a path we should only take if absolutely necessary. There are already various laws and technologies that deal the same issue including the 2008 “Protect Our Children Act” which already requires ISP’s to report any time they have actual knowledge of possible transmission of child pornography. If this bill does become law and once the data is collected don’t be surprised if other interest including the RIAA and the MPAA will begin to want access to this same data in their ongoing fight against piracy.
Not only does this bill erode users rights and privacy, but it puts a burden on the ISPs to not only maintain those records, but to protect that information from hackers. Recent history has shown that this is very difficult and costly. Larger ISP can handle the cost, smaller ISPs may not have the means to handle the burden. This may lead to less choice for the consumer in the long run Also the more tech savvy pornographers will find ways around the system by using Tors, open wi-fi, bots and other methods. The question becomes how much privacy and rights of the innocents are we willing to give up to maybe stop the guilty.
In a cross-talk interview done by the BBC resulted in a some good dialog from the knight in shining honor at the EFF and the evil empire leader at the MPAA [BBC]
Don’t believe that their are all kinds of sinister acts happening now. Well you need to wake the heck up and listen to some of the stuff I have been talking about. If the following two articles don’t make you sit up and get very angry then I will ask you to comment on why not. Read and pay close attention to what is being attempted. [ArsTechnica] [EFF]
This will be a topic for tonights podcast where I am going to have a few things to say!
From the EFF
Today is the last day to submit proposals (by 5p EST) to the Copyright Office seeking a 3-year DMCA exemption for noninfringing activities that are otherwise squelched by “digital rights management” (DRM) restrictions [EFF]
EFF goes after Sony in a big way. I send the EFF a yearly donation and this year I am going to double my contribution. When companies like Sony do what they wish and break the publics trust they need to understand that the general public is not going to put up with these types of actions.
Seeing my wife’s computer was infected with Sony’s Rootkit and having spent 5 hours getting this malware removed and rebuilding the computer we will see if they honor the invoice I have mailed to them. I am looking forward to the response I get from their legal department. [EFF]
CALL TO ACTION
The RIAA has decided that the makers of next generation of Digital Radio Receivers need to legislated so that you will not copy music that is being broadcast over the digital airways.
They are asking congress to build restrictions into these digital players so that they cannot have material copied out of them and also to reduce the quality of the music.
From the EFF “In other words, the music industry is basically saying that, where recording from next-generation radio is concerned, government must step in and freeze innovation to ensure that you can never do anything that you couldn’t do with an analog cassette deck in 1984. This, despite the fact that Congress specifically approved of digital recording off the radio in the Audio Home Recording Act in 1992. So this is about stopping music fans from doing things that are perfectly legal under copyright law.”
I encourage you to read the entire article by the EFF and visit the associated links. Join the letter writing campaign to speak out. [EFF]
The EFF has a update on the Broadcast Flag battle, and for those of you that reacted from the posting on this website, Thank You. [EFF]
I support the EFF with a yearly donation, and encourage those of that understand the importance of fair use to do the same.