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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 Reclaimer77 on 2/23/2009 1:51:05 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
If these Texas Republicans were so concerned about the innocent children, they would also look into tighter gun control.


You realize that gun violence only increases with gun control laws right ?

Can you please explain to me why the cities where it's almost impossible for an honest citizen to own a gun, have out of control shooting deaths ?


By celticbrewer on 2/23/2009 3:40:53 PM , Rating: 3
Sure, maybe you only have "a mere tens of shootings deaths a year", but every week there's knife killings and violence. I rather walk through New York City than London at night.


By clovell on 2/23/2009 3:47:04 PM , Rating: 3
Certainly - it's called Washington, D.C.

For more information, see Switzerland.

QED.


By Reclaimer77 on 2/23/2009 4:23:28 PM , Rating: 3
Who's talking about Canada ?

From what I have seen of Canada, my answer would have to be everyone walking around in public smoking pot is why you don't have gun violence problems.

But seriously, this isn't Canada. My statement wasn't about Canadians. And the topic at hand has nothing to do with Canada.

You Canadians are so proud to throw up gun violence statistics in our faces, but ignore the fact that your violent crime rate is on par with America. In the end, what is the difference between getting shot or stabbed to death ? Or getting run over by a Moose by a drunken hockey player.. or whatever passes for violence in your country.

But I know HERE, In AMERICA, gun control does NOT equal lower gun violence.


By General Disturbance on 2/23/2009 5:42:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'm talking about Canada so that hopefully you realize there is another larger world out there, where we don't all want to be the hero who shoots the perp.
Quit trying to convince yourself that violent crime is normal. We DON'T have a violent crime problem here. It exists, of course, but it generally doesn't bother those who don't ask for it.
And we certainly would NEVER think the solution is to let everyone have guns!! That's quite a comical concept to the rest of the world!


By Reclaimer77 on 2/23/2009 5:52:25 PM , Rating: 1
I find your generalizations about my country offensive.

Now please do me a favor and go back to drinking your high octane beer and beating your wife.

quote:
And we certainly would NEVER think the solution is to let everyone have guns!! That's quite a comical concept to the rest of the world!


No doubt everyone in Switzerland is laughing too ! Oh, wait...


By General Disturbance on 2/23/2009 6:34:45 PM , Rating: 2
In Swissland they have guns because that is how their military works...they don't all own guns to stop eachother from shooting eachother...it's a big difference in ideology! And, compared to the US, they have relatively NO gun crime.

So it isn't guns, it's people. But if the people can't rationally own guns, then take the guns away.

I'll go back to my hot Canadian gf now, make her dinner, and then make out...I'm the one who gets the beating...


By boing on 2/24/2009 8:25:42 AM , Rating: 2
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ris...

quote:
But the price of eternal vigilance is frequent funerals: in 2005, 48 people were murdered by gunfire in Switzerland - about the same number as in England and Wales, which have a population seven times as large. According to the International Action Network on Small Arms, an anti-gun organisation based in the UK, 6.2 people died of bullet wounds in Switzerland in 2005 per 100,000 of population, second only to the US figure of 9.42, and more than double the rate of Germany and Italy.


By Reclaimer77 on 2/23/2009 5:55:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We DON'T have a violent crime problem here. It exists, of course, but it generally doesn't bother those who don't ask for it.


And WE DON'T have a gun violence problem here. It exists, of course, but it generally doesn't bother those who don't ask to be SHOT.

Now honestly, if I seriously used that as an argument I would be torn apart. But you are seriously claiming that only people who ASK for violence in Canada are victims of it ?

Sounds like your socialist government is hard at work spinning things in a more favorable light..


By General Disturbance on 2/23/2009 6:13:29 PM , Rating: 2
Don't be offended dude.
But generally, yes, it is extremly rare for an innocent bystander to be affected by violent crime. It happens infrequently, yes, but none of us would ever think we should carry a gun because the problem is so bad we must always be armed and in a state of alertness.

"Sounds like your socialist government is hard at work spinning things in a more favorable light.."

Well all see what we hear in the news I guess...


By mindless1 on 2/23/2009 6:33:15 PM , Rating: 2
Quite overgeneralized, the perceived threat has quite a lot to do with where one lives and what other choices or situations they're in. Suppose you are green, you walk to work and live in a major metropolitan area at night. Are you sane if you assume to be safe, given people are victims a certain % of the time and given # of times you are exposed to an environment? It only takes once to change a life, or end one.

Some people have more risk than others and can do little about it, any choice they make could just shift the risk to someone else.

It is not rare for an innocent bystander to be effected, unless you only mean a bystander as a 3rd party to a crime already being committed. Instead let's look at innocent victims of crime in general, since by definition a "victim" does tend to be innocent at least of that particular crime.

For example if I call someone a sh!thead, and get shot, I am innocent of provoking a murder even if not innocent in some altruistic concept. Society cannot tolerate killing because of a verbal blurt, nor most other scenarios except to save a life. Most violent crime IS against someone who is innocent enough, when you consider few if anyone is really an angel.


By Steve1981 on 2/24/2009 9:17:05 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It happens infrequently, yes, but none of us would ever think we should carry a gun because the problem is so bad we must always be armed and in a state of alertness.


To quote the Nuge...

quote:
To my mind it is wholly irresponsible to go into the world incapable of preventing violence, injury, crime, and death. How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness. How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. How pathetic.


It might be an "American" way of thinking, but I'll take it over the alternative.


By mindless1 on 2/23/2009 6:15:56 PM , Rating: 2
You think you "know" that, but there are far too many variables to know it with any reasonable degree of certainty.

In America we have an alarming prison population per capita, and yet still so much violence. In most countries if they were so quick to lock people away for a long time the crime rate would be even lower, though I'm excluding countries where you might just have your hand lopped off or be executed instead of imprisoned.


By mindless1 on 2/23/2009 6:11:02 PM , Rating: 1
It's not about gun control laws. Larger cities have high population density, getting people closer together causes more conflicts and supports larger infrastructures of organized crime, gangs, drugs, and other illegal enterprises.

Even the typical, hypothetical "honest citizen" can be pushed to rage, and may be a few times in their lifetime. Limiting the weapons are general population carries around in times of (National) peace seems like a good idea to reduce crime. Suppose an armed robber thinks someone has a gun, but wants to rob them. What will happen? The robber simply draws first and shoots if the victim attempts to put out their gun.

Maybe victim shoots back, maybe victim just gets shot so they have no chance to pull out a gun when they wouldn't have been shot otherwise because they posed minimal threat to a robber with a gun when they had none.

Now let's move beyond the hypothetical honest citizen who is sane, and consider the 10% of the population who are mentally ill, considering many are not diagnosed as such that it would prevent them from legally owning a gun if mental illness was part of the screening process for a gun license.

Now let's consider that this 10% figure might be WAY too low, plenty of questionable people seem pretty normal on the surface thanks to their ability to mimic those around them and on TV, but obviously some people make better choices in life than others.


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