"Created to solve the problem of child sexual abuse, child pornography law...has grown dramatically in the past two decades, expanding and proliferating along with the underlying problem that it targets. Yet, curiously, the law's expansion has not solved the problem, but only presided over its escalation." Amy Adler, Associate Professor, New York University School of Law**The TRUTH about Child Pornography; the myths and your cognitive dissonance. attorney notes
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Legislating Big Brother under the guise of fighting child pornography By End the Lie
Deception has become the hallmark of how our government operates in the post-9/11 world, leveraging emotionally charged language in order to trick the public into supporting dangerous legislation.
This is the exact tactic that allowed the PATRIOT Act to be accepted by the public (although it wouldn’t matter much even if the public didn’t support it).
Then President George W. Bush famously stated something to the effect of, “Either you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists,” and that is exactly what our so-called representatives are doing now, except this time it is with child pornography.
Child pornography and the exploitation of children in general is a thoroughly disgusting practice which I think should be punished as harshly as possible, but that does not mean that everyone on the internet should be tracked like never before.
This is exactly what H.R. 1981, or “The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011″ intends to do.
This legislation, which has been dormant since December 16, intends to amend pre-existing legal code in order to create a more comprehensive database of users’ internet activity.
You might be surprised that much of what people are finding most objectionable about the legislation is already law here in the United States.
In an article published in The Atlantic, the author and some of the commenters seem to be most offended by the sheer amount of information that internet service providers (ISPs) are required to store on their users.
However, H.R. 1981 (which should be much more appropriately called H.R. 1984) only adds that service providers must record the IP addresses of users as well.
In order to understand this new legislation, which is actually more of an amendment than wholly new legislation, we must look back to what it is actually amending.
This is Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Part 1, Chapter 121, § 2703: Required Disclosure of Customer Communications or Records, which can be read here.
Under Subsection (c), Records Concerning Electronic Communication Service or Remote Computing Service, we read:
(2) A provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service shall disclose to a government entity the
(C) local and long distance telephone connection records;
(D) length of service (including start date) and types of service utilized;
(E) telephone or instrument number or other subscriber number or identity, including any temprorarily assigned network addresses; and
(F) means and source of payment for such service (including any credit card or bank account number),
of a subscriber to or a customer of such service when the government entity uses an administrative subpoena authorized by a Federal or State statute or a Federal or State grand jury or trial subpoena or any means available under paragraph (1).
(3) A government entity receiving records or information under this subsection is not required to provide notice to a subscriber or customer.
When we examine the actual text of H.R. 1981, we find that in addition to the above information, providers must “retain for a period of at least one year a log of the temporarily assigned network addresses the provider assigns to a subscriber or to a customer of such service that enables the identification of the corresponding customer or subscriber information under subsection (c)(2) of this section.”
I find the sheer amount of information being collected by these service providers to be stored for an extended period of time for the government’s perusal to be somewhat troubling.
Of course, the name of the legislation was carefully chosen in order to make anyone who questions the legitimacy of such tactics as either a child pornographer or someone who sympathizes with such despicable people and practices.
I am neither and I think that many people who are not child pornographers and who in fact have nothing to hide when it comes to their internet activity would find such extensive records troubling.
The classic tactic used by proponents of legislation like this is to ask, “If you have nothing to hide, then why are you concerned?”
That is because in today’s America you don’t have to do anything wrong to get you marked by the government.
For instance, under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, commonly referred to as the NDAA, the government could effectively criminalize certain internet searches or activities which could be labeled “belligerent acts” or terrorist-related activity and thus get you thrown inindefinite military detention.
Furthermore, as the author of the above linked piece from The Atlantic points out, it can also be used for blackmail purposes.
It is far too easy for internet searches to be taken out of context and for someone like me who spends most of their days researching material from across the world on a plethora of subjects, there are bound to be a few searches which could be taken out of context and used to criminalize us.
This legislation is just part of the massive multifaceted approach to eroding all of our most essential civil liberties and the American peoples’ basic sense of freedom and privacy as a whole.
So long as most of the American people are having their opinions fed to them by the establishment media and various less-than-trustworthy news sources, our so-called representatives will be able to slip legislation like this into law, mostly under the radar with little organized opposition.
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