Civil Liberties

Solidifying Their Place in the Minority


Probably doesn't have much chance of passing, but worth keeping an eye on:

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, introduced a bill last week that could require all Internet service providers to save data on their customers—anything from a user's name and address to emails, instant messages and information about every website you choose to visit in the dead of night.

Like most onerous Internet legislation, Smith's couching the "SAFETY Act" as an important tool to fight online sexual predators.

NEXT: Mom! Dad! Help Me! There Are Dirty Pictures on My Computer!

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  1. And to think, if “I” burned a copy of the constitution on the steps of congress, they’d probably have me arrested for sedition and defamation….

  2. One thing I’ve never understood is why all of these proposals want the ISPs to store this data locally. From a purely technical standpoint, it’d make a *lot* more sense to require each ISP install hardware such as a Narus data-collection box, which would then forward this data off (via dedicated leased lines) to a central repository at the FBI, NSA (assuming they don’t have one already), DOJ, etc.

    Yes, the civil libertarians (and myself) would scream bloody murder, but at least this way the total scale of what’s being proposed, a “Total Information Awareness II” program, if you will, would be more obvious and apparent…

  3. I think there needs to be a grassroots community wifi project out of MIT. They have the resources to cover all of Boston with internet. People are starting to wake up and realize the machinery of the state is pretty fucked up. The only way we are going to get municipal wifi is if we do it ourselves.

    It’s a good thing the cops are too stupid to even use a compupter. Here’s hoping that public nodes are not recognized as “hoax devices”

  4. I’d kind of like to know that some poor fuck would have to sort through all the dirty things I look at.

  5. OMG MILES STFU UR going to give them ideas

  6. I’m going to start forwarding my history list to Washington. The children need our help NOW. And if they need help determining the age of every person in every photo I’ve ever seen, I’ll help with that too. WILL YOU?

    PS – I like the catchy acronym 😉

  7. I think there needs to be a grassroots community wifi project out of MIT.

    There are such initiatives already, the most promising being mesh computing, which works as distributed networking. There are a few problems remaining, such as billing (in mesh computing, only a portion of computers is connected to the Internet backbone, yet they bear all the cost), but within a year or two it should become viable in high-density areas.

  8. Rhywun–

    That’s not a bad idea. Maybe we should ALL forward our history lists, along with several hundred MB of viewed images and youtube files, directly to Rep. Smith’s email address. He would welcome that, right?

  9. tros

    The FBI and NSA probably have their little data bots doing it already.

    A few years ago, I was chatting online with a Norwegian friend & used the words “Komitet Gosudarstvenoy Bezupastnosti”* in one of my comments. I always wondered what sort of hysterics that set off in the NSA computers.

    *a VERY rough transliteration of the Russian name of the KGB.

  10. PS – I like the catchy acronym 😉

    Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today’s Youth Act (SAFETY) of 2007

    I just threw up in my mouth.

  11. Wow I wish PIRG and Greenpeace would canvass for municipal wifi instead of global warming.

    Fucking stupid hippies.

  12. Chuck, thanks for the reminder! I forgot about my cache files – I’ll burn ’em all to disc and send them straight away to each of the agencies responsible for protecting our children (FBI, CIA, any others??)!! Should I do this weekly? Daily? At least until the bill passes and RoadRunner does all the work for me! I’ll gladly pay a little extra on my bill every month, knowing all the children are safe!!

  13. And to think, if “I” burned a copy of the constitution on the steps of congress, they’d probably have me arrested for sedition and defamation….

    Yeah, but it’s okay when you do that inside the building. Then it’s for the children.

  14. You missed the part in the bill about labeling requirements, which specifically inserts US law in foreign commerce. Section 10(b).

    The problem with that is going to be enforcement. Eventually, other countries are going to grow tired of having their citizens arrested for things that aren’t crimes in the native country. And that will probably lead to US citizens being equal opportunities abroad.

  15. Is it possible for them to go through all that information even if it was saved?

  16. Wow I wish PIRG and Greenpeace would canvass for municipal wifi instead of global warming.

    Fucking stupid hippies.
    I love it. Best laugh today.

  17. Also, I’m not optimistic that this would actually fail to pass. There’s too many people that want to look tough on crime to vote against it.

    And the last sentence in my last post should have read:

    “And that will probably lead to US citizens being given equal opportunities abroad.”

  18. Probably doesn’t have much chance of passing

    That’s what they said about 99.9% of all tyrannical laws that end up getting passed anyway. If the freedom-hating moralists want it bad enough, they’ll worm that bill into SOME law.

  19. “””Is it possible for them to go through all that information even if it was saved?”””

    It would be data mined. It might look for IPs going to kids sites and porn sites. So if your kid has a computer and you have a computer in your bedroom, they may be interested in talking to you. Some are pushing for laws that prevent you from smoking in your own house if you have kids. It’s not a far step to pass the same law for porn.

    The problem is that Congress has no clue about how the Internet works. McCain wants to track illegal images, obviously he has no idea that a “image” does not travel across the Internet as a single picture. He is not aware that an image travels like a puzzle, one piece at a time, to be put together on the receiving end.

    As far a city wide WiFi, I have mixed feelings about it. It would be nice to access the Internet where ever I am. However there is something call WiFi asset tracking. Some hospitals have been testing it the last I looked. It allows assets, wheelchairs for example, to tell you where they are so they are easy to find. With a city wide WiFi system coupled with the current state of surveillence, the citizen will become the assest being tracked.

    I suspect in another 25 years you will be tracked from the point we leave our house till we return and they will be able to monitor elements of your house to figure out what you are doing. Certainly if your on the computer they will know exactly what you are doing. The current government has the motivation all they need is the infrastructure.

  20. Someone out there should be able to access the entire life proceedings of this scum bag and post them on the internet for all to read. Just to let him know what it is he really, really wants.

  21. I used to think this wasn’t technically feasible because ISPs have enough trouble moving bits from end to end without copying them all off on the side. And selectively grabbing just the important data (website addresses, email text, etc.) seemed way too CPU intensive. But now there are deep packet inspection products that ISPs are using to block file sharing, and that same technology could easily be used to pull only the significant info out of all those bits flowing by.

    BTW, file sharing is being blocked not because much of it is illegal (although that probably doesn’t help) but because it sucks up expensive and limited upstream bandwidth.

    My main problem with this (besides the heinous violation of liberty) is that it will only catch those that accidentally download child porn. Anyone that knows they’re doing something illegal on the Internet will just encrypt all their communications. Then the Feds are fucked… as far as I know no one has cracked the stronger encryption protocols in use today. Even if the NSA can read your email they’re not going to admit that just to bust you for porn.

  22. I want to know when Congress is going to stumble over the fact that the Internet is the best thing that ever happend for the people catching pedophiles.

    How else could a forty-something-old male detective sit in a room anywhere in the U.S. eating doughnuts and nailing the most serious pervs, by pretending to be a thirteen-year-old naif.

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