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New bills seek to end internet anonymity

The topic of ISP data retention came up once again in the halls of Congress. A new bill, known as the “Internet SAFETY Act,” seeks to compel ISPs and anyone who hosts a Wi-Fi access point to log all information that could identify users, in order to assist police investigating child pornography.

Known formally under the full title “Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today's Youth Act,” the Internet SAFETY Act is actually two companion pieces of legislation – one working its way through the Senate as S.436, and the other through the House as H.R.1076. Their sponsors are Senator John Cornyn and Representative Lamar Smith, and both are republicans hailing from Texas.

“While the Internet has generated many positive changes in the way we communicate and do business, its limitless nature offers anonymity that has opened the door to criminals looking to harm innocent children,” said Cornyn in a Thursday press conference. “Keeping our children safe requires cooperation on the local, state, federal, and family level.”

Both bills are virtually identical, and contain the same language. “[Providers] of an electronic communication service or remote computing service” will be required to retain “all records … pertaining to the identity of a user of a temporarily assigned network address” for two years.

Observers interpret the law to mean anyone who runs a network that assigns users a temporary IP address, internal or external – which would cast ISPs like AT&T in the same lot as coffee shops and corporate networks using DHCP.

CNET notes that both the U.S. Department of Justice’s position and legal definition of “electronic communication services” line up with this interpretation.

“Law enforcement officials had a chokehold on child pornography before the Internet exploded,” reads a Dallas Morning News editorial penned by Rep. Smith. “Perpetrators relied on the postal service to traffic their trade, and, by the end of the 1980s, postal investigators were winning the battle.”

“But the Internet changed everything. Now criminals can view pictures, download videos and watch the live molestation of a child. Pedophiles have, in effect, found a safe haven online.”

Citing the imagery of a TV crime drama, Rep. Smith wonders: “How many times have we seen TV detectives seek call logs of a suspect in order to determine who he has been talking to? What if the telephone companies simply said to the detectives, ‘Sorry, we get rid of that information after 24 hours’?”

 Increased data retention favors a completely different set of suitors as well, says Electronic Privacy Information Center director Marc Rotenberg: the music and movie industry. Such a bill would “create new risk” for web surfers and peer-to-peer users, spawning legal fishing expeditions and lawsuits.

“It's a terrible idea,” said Rotenberg.

Perhaps spurned on by privacy advocates’ calls for service providers to have a shorter memory – a call that many have listened to – or the death of COPA, it appears the Internet SAFETY Act is the latest in a series of anti-child-pornography initiatives seeking to lift the veil on internet anonymity.

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By HostileEffect on 2/23/2009 9:28:14 AM , Rating: 5
I'm also getting very tired of the government sticking its ugly nose where it doesn't belong. Whats that smell...

By Dreifort on 2/23/2009 10:10:27 AM , Rating: 1
You mean the same government that is forcing individual states to give up some of their legislative power in-turn to accept stimulus money?

Smells of corruption. Federal government gains part of state's governing power...for money.

Every state is required to expand their unemployment funding, permanently. Even though majority of states can barely meet their curr funding - the fed gov't wants you to triple or even quadruple your unemployment funding...or you won't be allowed to receive stimulus money.

While temporarily, some of this money will help sustain unemployment funding. When stimulus money dries up, states will still be forced/required to keep their unemployment benefit funding sky high.

This stimulus bill keeps getting worse. And it does seem like it was written by a bunch of apes (congress, NOT obama.). This bill is taking state power and transferring it to federal control....and bringing back our welfare system to an even higher level than it was when a democrat ended it. step at a time. *sigh*

By Spivonious on 2/23/2009 10:56:12 AM , Rating: 2
I heard on the radio that South Carolina isn't going to accept the stimulus money. Does anyone have any details on that?

By delFur on 2/23/2009 12:32:29 PM , Rating: 3
Neither is Louisiana. I haven't heard about South Carolina before just now... makes me wonder how many states aren't going to take money.

By Dreifort on 2/23/2009 1:08:35 PM , Rating: 3
SC is one of 4 or 5 states that is refusing the money. However, California and Michigan are already asking for the money these states are refusing.

By theArchMichael on 2/23/2009 10:11:54 AM , Rating: 2
If you're not for this bill your probably a pedophile.</sarcasm>

I doesn't surprise that an issue like preventing child pornography is attached to a bill restricting the citizens' right to privacy. The bill writers and lobbying groups behind are goading our representatives into voting for it or having it become political fodder for the next election cycle. 'Rep. SoandSo voted to support child pornography!', yech, election year is the devolution of our society.

However, I think this would be a reasonable measure if only there were a provision that evidence and investigation could only gathered on child pornography cases carried out by the govenment itself, and not by agents on its behalf.
That would rule out use or necessity of these logs in civil cases and criminal cases not pertaining too child pornography.
Well I guess the logs would still be there... for example if they were stored on a mainframe or in the router or switches memory stack or something. BUT if those logs were encrypted with a salt/password, wouldn't one have to subpoena access to those logs via a person giving up their password? If it wasn't a child pornography case you wouldn't be compelled to bow to those demands.

By BladeVenom on 2/23/2009 11:42:30 AM , Rating: 5
Politicians are just exploiting children to do the bidding of the RIAA/MPAA. This bill is what the media mafiaa wants so they can spy on everyone, and track down filesharers.

By stilltrying on 2/23/2009 4:46:51 PM , Rating: 1
This has nothing to do with lobbyists/RIAA/MPAA. This is The New World Order right in your face, designed to make all of us slaves with no freedoms whatsoever. One freedom at a time the slow gradual turn to one world socialism/government, it is coming I will promise you this. The global economic meltdown and these bills designed to take away your freedom were designed well in advance and all is going as planned to think otherwise is naive.

By darklight0tr on 2/23/2009 2:07:07 PM , Rating: 5
Well get used to it. At least for another 4 years. We have a President who not only has the audacity to tell businesses how much their CEO's should make, but will end up federalizing a huge portion of our economy. You think he's going think twice about slapping massive restrictions and controls on the Internet ? To Obama and the Democrats, there is NO PLACE they don't think they belong.

Their sponsors are Senator John Cornyn and Representative Lamar Smith, and both are republicans hailing from Texas.

Before trotting out the usual Democrat bashing, you should reread the article. The sponsors of this bill are both Texas Republicans. So much for your claim that the grass is greener on the other side.

By mars777 on 2/23/2009 7:38:40 PM , Rating: 4
You sound like a republican...

Bla bla bla and after a while all the rubbish comes out...

By threepac3 on 2/23/2009 5:14:24 PM , Rating: 2
How soon they forget the last 8 years...

By Reclaimer77 on 2/23/2009 5:27:29 PM , Rating: 3
How soon they forget the last 8 years...

The last 8 years of what ?

Bush drastically increased the size of the federal government, yes. There is no denying that. But at least it was to defend us and get us out of the Cold War footing and into the age of modern state funded terrorism. Not to mention fund the war, no matter what your thoughts on it.

However when it is all said and done, what Obama will do can't even be comparable. He will eclipse Bush's total 8 years of spending in just TWO at this rate, if that. And the long term impact is going to be FAR greater because Obama is putting the money into more and new government SPENDING PROGRAMS. That's what liberal entitlement plans do, spend tax dollars and increase their budgets year after year. It really doesn't take an Economist to see the drastic difference between the two presidents imprint on the economy.

Bush isn't president anymore, and soon Obama and the Democrats will no longer be able to point to him and dig up the same sorry excuse that they "inherited" what Bush did. And I suggest you get off that as well.

You act as if I and other conservatives somehow support Bush increasing the size of the federal government by 35%. No, we don't. But you are a complete idiot if you think that even pales in comparison to what just 4 years of Obama will bring us. Hello !?? 1+ TRILLION dollars of new spending in his first MONTH of office ?

I thought I was going to wreck my car today when I heard Obama's newest promise on the radio today. He's somehow going to magically cut the federal deficit in HALF in two years, while ALSO ushering in unprecidented tax and spend trillion dollar pork barrel packages AND federalized Universal Health Care.

I guess he really IS the second coming. Because there is NO WAY on this earth to do those two things at the same time.

By boing on 2/24/2009 6:25:23 AM , Rating: 2
to DEFEND you? DEFEND !!! is that what you call invading a country that offered no threat to rape it of it's natural resources in a war with zero international support?

the guy launched an unnecessary, illegal, abusive war which has devastated your economy, destroyed your image internationally, slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people, militised a whole generation of muslims and pissed all over the geneva convention and basic human rights.

he has also dangerously eroded the fundamental liberty of the american people and pushed the country to the brink of a poice state.

That's before we get to the fact that it was Bushes era of deregulated greed that allowed the banks to push the economy over the edged of a cliff.

Obama has inherited a disaster movie of a presidency, one largely made by Bush, if he didn't pour money into the economy you wouldn't have a pot to piss in right now.

By Reclaimer77 on 2/24/2009 4:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
Wow.. it's like your a walking talking Liberal Talking Point machine. I would love to take you apart word for word, but it's way too easy.

I will partake on a few big ones though.

to rape it of it's natural resources in a war with zero international support?

Two huge lies in one sentence. You have a gift. We HAD international support, we didn't have UN support. England, Australia, Canada, and a host of other countries participated in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is that not support ?

Secondly, we have not taken a SINGLE drop of oil from Iraq. That's a fact bud.

the guy launched an unnecessary, illegal,

CONGRESS launched a legal war. Not George Bush.

if he didn't pour money into the economy you wouldn't have a pot to piss in right now.

WOW... just.. wow.

You realize taking money OUT of the economy or using the treasury to cause inflation, and dumping it into government programs, is NOT "pouring money" into the economy right ? No.. you don't.

Every dollar the government spends is a dollar that's NOT in the hands of the taxpayers. Every dollar the government borrows is a dollar that's NOT being lent to the private sector where it can be put to better use by GROWING the economy.

By croc on 2/23/2009 4:51:42 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmm... Thes bills were put forth by Republicans - from Texas. You know, the state that Dubbya came from, the President that stuck his nose (illegally, BTW) into more US lives as well as other nations' citizens lives than any other US Pres. in history? The one that used unofficial comms for official business? The Pres. that lost how many emails?

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