Washington Attempts to Make us All Culpable for Online Child Pornography


Never forget!

Have you heard about The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011? It's the latest in a l-o-n-g line of just terrible bills proposed to calm (though never quite eliminate) the fears of middle-aged people about what that scary Internet might potentially do to Our Children. There's a hearing on the legislation taking place as we speak. Here's Cato's Jim Harper:

It's got everything: porn, children, the Internet. And it's got everything: financial services providers dragooned into law enforcement, data retention requirements heaped on Internet service providers, expanded "administrative subpoena" authority. (Administrative subpoenas are an improvisation to accommodate the massive power of the bureaucracy, and they've become another end-run around the Fourth Amendment. If it's "administrative" it must be reasonable, goes the non-thinking…)

This isn't a bill about child predation. It's a bald-faced attack on privacy and limited government.

Meanwhile, former Reasoner Julian Sanchez (also of Cato) muses that "I guess the 'You Are All Criminals Act' didn't have the same ring," and provides some context:

Thanks to an unwise Supreme Court decision dating from the 70s, information about your private activites loses its Fourth Amendment protection when its held by a "third party" corporation, like a phone company or Internet provider. As many legal scholars have noted, however, this allows constitutional privacy safeguards to be circumvented via a clever two-step process. Step one: The government forces private businesses (ideally the kind a citizen in the modern world can't easily avoid dealing with) to collect and store certain kinds of information about everyone—anyone might turn out to be a criminal, after all. No Fourth Amendment issue there, because it's not the government gathering it! Step two: The government gets a subpoena or court order to obtain that information, quite possibly without your knowledge. No Fourth Amendment problem here either, according to the Supreme Court, because now they're just getting a corporation's business records, not your private records. It makes no difference that they're only keeping those records because the government said they had to.

Current law already allows law enforcement to require retention of data about specific suspects—including e-mails and other information as well as IP addresses—to ensure that evidence isn't erased while they build up enough evidence for a court order. But why spearfish when you can lower a dragnet? Blanket data requirements ensure easy access to a year-and-a-half snapshot of the online activities of millions of Americans—every one a *potential criminal.

Re-read Jacob Sullum's phenomenal piece about "Perverted Justice" from our July special issue on criminal justice. That Time cover above comes from our great Radley Balko/Jeff Winkler collection of "The Top 10 Most Absurd Time Covers of The Past 40 Years."

NEXT: Who's the Boss?

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  1. I hate people.

    That is all.

    1. You’re a libertarian commentator. Misanthropy goes with the territory.

      1. Hey! WE’RE good at it, too!

        1. *ahem*

    2. You’re probably overcooking them.

      THE BILL DOESN’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT REQUIRING ISPs TO KEEP A HISTORY OF WEB BROWSING!! It only requires them to log users IP addresses, something that ISPs already do with normal system logging. This data is normally used for troubleshooting, etc. They just now have to keep the IP logs for 18months which most ISPs probably already do.
      ITS ACTUALLY DIFFICULT FOR AN ISP TO RECORD ALL USERS WEB BROWSING HISTORY without lots of expensive hardware and again, I don’t see it as a requirement in the bill text. Don’t believe me? Read the bill yourself:…..1981ih.pdf

  2. Looks like that kid is starting to develop “the male gaze”. Better get him to a gender neutral re-education camp, stat!

  3. Oh, and this basically sounds like The PATRIOT Act of the internet. Fuck that.

  4. It’s got everything: porn, children, the Internet…

    If it doesn’t have Satan it doesn’t have everything.

    1. It’s got Congress; isn’t that close enough?

      1. Almost. But hearings always have Congress. I’ll have to disallow it on a technicality.

        1. Well if you’re gonna go there, you’ll have to disallow teh childrun, because hearings always have them too. It’s always for teh childrun!

          1. Congress, Satan… what’s the difference?

            1. “Congress, Satan… what’s the difference?”

              Congress is evil.

            2. Satan was once good?

              1. Also, he made people smarter.

            3. “Congress, Satan… what’s the difference?”

              According to the bible Satan can be overcome.

            4. “”Congress, Satan… what’s the difference?””

              Satan doesn’t redistribute wealth.

            5. One walks the earth like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, ever vigilant to lead us from the paths of rightousness into perdition. The other is a character in the Bible.

              1. I’m taking notes. Thanks, all.

  5. Banning child porn has just pushed it onto the black market. It’s best if we keep it legal and regulated.

  6. Maybe if you guys had children you would feel differently. Then again, that would require getting laid.

    1. Your child has a better chance of being struck by lightning while being mauled by a bear than having his or her life helped by this act.

    2. How does having children turn one into a servile, power-worshipping cringe-monkey?

      1. I dunno. I have a child, but I’ve never worried that he was going to see bad stuff on the Interwebs . . . I KNEW he was going to see bad stuff on the Interwebs, but that’s life.

    3. God forbid someone, you know, actually parent their children. Like that old fashioned, ‘get to know them and explain stuff so that they can deal with life’ method?

      Nope – have to re-make the world into a giant Chuck-E-Cheese, and maybe make some cash along the way.

      1. Do. Not. Respond. To. The. Retard. Troll.

        Ignore. Always ignore.

        1. Eh? Perhaps you should read that again.

          1. Oops, never mind. Stupid threaded comments. BTW, I do have a kid with another on the way, and I agree with Apogee.

        2. Do as he says, not as he does.

        3. Didn’t recognize this one.

    4. I have a grown “children”.

      Years ago, when he was about ten, he was outside playing with one of his friends, and a creep drove down the street, turned around, and repeated this a few times. Eventually, he stopped at the curb and started to solicit the two young men.

      Once I caught wind of this, I went outside to counsel the gentleman by pulling him out of his car and bitch-slapping him, right in front of about a dozen witnesses in the immediate vicinity.

      Problem solved. He wound up in prison after the cops found a lot of porn containing very few adults and the occasional animal.

      The end.

      1. Did you give him the back of your hand?

        1. The back the hand is the most erotic part of a father.

          1. I slapped him like a five-dollar whore.

            No one saw a thing, even though they were staring right at the whole incident.

      2. wait, the cops didn’t arrest you for assault, shoot your dog, let the child prowler go and then plant an ounce of cocaine on you?

        something doesn’t sound right here

        1. He did say this was years ago.

        2. I guess he wasn’t in NYC.

          While I don’t hear much about shooting dogs in the city, and old school cops would beat the shit out of a child prowler in the basement, they will arrest everyone involved in a fight and let the courts sort it out.

          1. not where i work. fighting in public isn’t even ILLEGAL. unless the case falls under the WODV exceptions (which imo is worse than the WOD for liberty restrictions for the average joe), – no victim no crime

            mutual combat is NOT a crime. not in my state

            1. Pretty much the same in my home state.

              NYC isn’t representative of NYS either. NYC is just weird on fighting, execpt when they do it.

            2. It wasn’t an issue when I first moved to NYC either. Cops wouldn’t give you a second look unless you pissed them off, then they would beat the shit out of you. You could drink beer in a paper bag, and smoke pot in public, cops didn’t care until Guilianni was elected, then quality of life was an issue.

              1. and of course correlation does not equal causation, but crime was off the hook in NYC before guiliani was elected and had dropped significantly during his reign, to include literally hundreds less homicides per year.

                and yes, i know crime dropped nationwide too

            3. NYC has been pissing me off more every year since then. Between quality of life crimes, anti-terror measure, and the rise of nannyism under Bloomberg, I’m about ready to bail.

              I’m mentioned it before on H&R, you have me half convinced I need to move back to WA.

              1. come west, young man!

                1. The guy was a) stoopid and b) had a shitload of meth in his part of the rental house he shared with God knows how many people.

                  Oh, cops showed up, the next day… one of them said “I hear there was a bit of a disagreement on child-rearing techniques”, with just a glimmer of a grin. Not a word about charges.

                  I think the POS child-diddler is still in the pokey. Whatever he’s getting, it’s not enough.

                  1. works for me

      3. Something missing from that post? What’s the “this”? What 2 young men? Who stopped at the curb, the 10 YO or the driver?

        1. My son and his friend were accosted by the driver, Robert. HE stopped at the curb, and tried to talk them into his car for a little fun and frolic.

          You have sympathy for him? Just come out and say it.

          1. fwiw, the crime in my state would be “luring” RCW 9a.40.090

            A person commits the crime of luring if the person:

            (1)(a) Orders, lures, or attempts to lure a minor or a person with a developmental disability into any area or structure that is obscured from or inaccessible to the public or into a motor vehicle;

            (b) Does not have the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian or of the guardian of the person with a developmental disability; and

            (c) Is unknown to the child or developmentally disabled person.

            (2) It is a defense to luring, which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant’s actions were reasonable under the circumstances and the defendant did not have any intent to harm the health, safety, or welfare of the minor or the person with the developmental disability.

            (3) For purposes of this section:

            (a) “Minor” means a person under the age of sixteen;

            (b) “Person with a developmental disability” means a person with a developmental disability as defined in RCW 71A.10.020.

            (4) Luring is a class C felony.

    5. It would help if you’d stop dressing your kids so hawt….

  7. the main thing kids need protection from is overzealous school administrators, police, and prosecutors

    1. “Overzealous,” meaning “pedophiles who don’t take ‘no’ for an answer”.

    2. Don’t forget the TSA agents.

    3. fwiw, i actually had two (TWO) stupid girls calling last week because grandma slapped them


      GO GRANDMA!!

      the best was one of the girls looked exactly like cartman when he dressed up as a teenage hooker to go on maury povich

      1. Did you manage to keep a straight face?

        I would have failed miserably.

        1. it really was pretty hilarious. the girl tried to school me that “a slap is not discipline, it’s ABUSE and it’s illegal”


          i tried to give her the RCW so she could look up the statute herself. she then told me to get out of her room and she was going to get an emancipation immediately because there is no way her grandmother should be allowed to slap her EVER

          i should note she didn’t even have a red mark on her face from this awful slap

          we had her sit down in the living room for a family conference to explain the facts and then she started bawling.

          yes, clearly mature enough to be ’emancipated’

          1. she then told me to get out of her room and she was going to get an emancipation immediately

            Time to confiscate all the property you’ve loaned her, including her clothes and computer, and take the door off her room.

      2. If a grandparent slaps you, you probably deserved it.

  8. We got the internet when I was 14. It was the perfect time for a young man to explore the wonderful, magical world of internet porn. I wonder what it’s like for kids these days, being able to get porn the second they first wonder what a vagina is.

    1. All the magical wonder and mystery of bukkake and of a few buddies making a skank airtight is gone, that’s what.

      1. Perversion doesn’t have an endpoint. That is the magic and the wonder.

        My only real worry is that I will have to live through another Victorian era when the pendulum swings back.

        1. That pendulum ain’t ever swinging back, dude.

          1. You, who lived like I, through the dark era of the ass-obliterating sweater-coat should not doubt me.

            I hope I am wrong, yet fear I am not.

            1. I would just like to thank the gods for making skinny jeans the standard in women’s fall and winter wardrobes.

              And yoga pants for the rest of the year.

            2. Sweater-coat: The American burka!

            3. Please, never let that horror be revisited upon us. The 90s were an abomination; the 70’s of the 80’s. I know that doesn’t make sense; that’s the point.

              1. 90s started out OK. The low-slung “boyfriend” jeans were much better than those 80s jeans that zipped up over a girl’s belly-button. And dresses and skirts came back for a little while.

                1. Those 80’s jeans made for some great camel toads.

                  1. and really made asses look great – the slow slung jeans led to muffin-tops and saggy behinds.

              2. I don’t know. The 90s were pretty good. Has there been any decade where the pop culture and fashion wasn’t for the most part irritating crap? The 90s were great, there was lots of LSD and you could still smoke in lots of places. So maybe you are right and I just wasn’t paying attention.

          2. “Swinging your pendulum” is that what the kids are calling it now ?

            1. Mainer|7.12.11 @ 11:42AM|#
              “Swinging your pendulum” is that what the kids are calling it now ?
              You Sound So Friggin’ Old When Say It Like That!
              How often do you get out of the house?

          3. Don’t be so sure. Lots of times in history that pendulum has swung back and forth.

  9. Which abject scumbag politicians are spearheading this legislation? I can’t wait to hear who.

    1. According to the link, the sponsor is Lamar Smith, and here are the cosponsors:

      Steven Chabot [R-OH1]
      Howard Coble [R-NC6]
      Mark Critz [D-PA12]
      Ted Deutch [D-FL19]
      Bill Flores [R-TX17]
      Randy Forbes [R-VA4]
      Trent Franks [R-AZ2]
      Elton Gallegly [R-CA24]
      Trey Gowdy [R-SC4]
      Daniel Lungren [R-CA3]
      Dutch Ruppersberger [D-MD2]
      Heath Shuler [D-NC11]
      Debbie Wasserman Schultz [D-FL20]

      1. Bi-partisanship in action!

        1. If you’re going to go through the trouble of making a fancy shit sandwich, you might as well give everyone a bite.

          1. It’s not like they’re offering us a bite, they’re ramming it down our throat.

            1. You say potato, they say swallow.

      2. As always, it’s bi-partisan, meaning both TEAMs of scum are in on it. Nothing worse than when they’re not fighting their endless power game.

        1. I swear to god, the absolute worst legislation is always bi-partisan. The one exception might be ObamaCare, though it was the brainchild of Team RED’s Romney.

          1. “”I swear to god, the absolute worst legislation is always bi-partisan.”‘

            Like the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act.

            1. And NCLB, and HMOs, and…

      3. Douchebaggery is not exclusive to either wing of the Demopublican Party.

      4. Odd. I don’t see any familiar names here, except Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is an idiot beyond measure.

        1. Californians (and recovering Californians) are familiar with the concentrated fascist idiocy that is ex CA-Atty Gen. Dan Lungren.

          Lamar Smith is another prize for the residents of Texas. Go to his wiki page for some legislative gems. And since he’s Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, you can thank him for ensuring that no significant MJ decriminalization bill ever sees the light of day on the House floor.

          He is, of course, wildly popular in his district.

      5. Everything about Lamar Smith is reprehensible.

        In a sane and just world, he would be paraded naked in a public square. He would be subjected to public humiliation before having small pieces of his flesh cut off of him. He would then be forced to eat these pieces of cut off flesh. This would continue until he died from blood-loss or shock.

      6. “Trent Franks [R-AZ2]”

        My Congressman makes the list.

        “Heath Shuler [D-NC11]”

        Charles Haley should have dealt with him when he had the chance.

        1. Heath Shulher should have celebrated a touchdown like Gus Ferotte, only 100x over.

  10. You know who does horrible things to children and takes nude pictures of them? It’s not random people they meet on the internet in penguin-themed chatrooms, it’s their parents, parent’s shack jobs, and stepparents. Nobody likes to admit it, but it’s true. But you know what? You can’t pass laws against kids having parents, so they come up with bullshit to pretend to do something to assauge the fears of weak-minded ninnies.

  11. The best part is, when the cops come to your door to seize your computer and you say “no” they will be able to fatally shoot you during the resulting “brief struggle” and suffer no adverse consequences except a paid vacation and a prescription for some powerful antidepressants.

    What’s so bad about that?

    1. Why won’t anyone take us seriously?

      1. Run along back to whatever Team Website you usually frequent.

        1. Answer the question.

          1. It’s a stupid question, and you knew it when you asked it.

  12. that cover photo reminds me of Lazlo Toth’s “my first goatse” series:

    1. I ain’t clickin’ that.

      1. It’s actually pretty damn funny. It’s pictures of the expressions on people’s faces when they first encounter the goatse.

        Also, in Goatse related items, you should also google for the guy who goatse’d myspace many years ago.

        1. J. Scott. It is a pretty hilarious story; if anyone is not familiar with it I recommend looking it up.

    2. the guy who attacked the Pieta ?

      I KNOW i ain’t clickin’ that.

  13. Anonymous scoldtroll scolds.

  14. Dear Concern Troll-

    Your concern has been duly noted and will be given all appropriate consideration.


  15. If it gains (or retains) one vote from a morally panicy american voter – it is completely worth it.

  16. ..paved with good intentions. Always.

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

  17. So now what, people have to find ways to dodge their IP address to look at porn !

    THE BILL DOESN’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT REQUIRING ISPs TO KEEP A HISTORY OF WEB BROWSING!! It only requires them to log users IP addresses, something that ISPs already do with normal system logging. This data is normally used for troubleshooting, etc. They just now have to keep the IP logs for 18months which most ISPs probably already do.
    ITS ACTUALLY DIFFICULT FOR AN ISP TO RECORD ALL USERS WEB BROWSING HISTORY without lots of expensive hardware and again, I don’t see it as a requirement in the bill text. Don’t believe me? Read the bill yourself:…..1981ih.pdf

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