Child Porn Bill Cloaks Fed Data Grab

While the world’s attention was focused for weeks on whether the Congress would extend the debt ceiling, some in that body were busy finding new ways to control the internet. The vehicle they chose for this latest attack on internet privacy is cloaked in the camouflage often favored by congressional nannies – protecting the children.

The legislation is the “Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act,” and is being led by House Judiciary Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Florida’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee.

The bill passed the Judiciary Committee July 28th on a 19 to 10 vote. Whether opposition to this privacy-invasive legislation, led by Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), will be sufficient to prevent its being fast-tracked for a vote of the full House this month, is uncertain. Its mere title, of course, makes it difficult for members to oppose it.

The problem with the legislation is that it sweeps far more broadly than necessary to protect children from internet predators. It would require, for example, that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) retain vast quantities of information on all customers, not just those on whom the government has a suspicion of guilt. Specifically, ISPs would have to retain the following information on all customers, for one year: names, addresses, credit card and bank account information, which websites they visit, and their IP addresses.

Supporters in Congress and the administration claim the law will be help federal investigators and prosecutors to identify and apprehend persons engaged in child exploitation. While this may be true, subjecting every internet user to having virtually their entire internet-use history maintained for 12 months simply to make it easier for the government to access information it deems necessary for certain investigations, is deeply offensive to Americans’ legitimate expectation of privacy in using the internet.

The Committee debate on the legislation was heated; and gave rise to some interesting, if not particularly intellectual discussions. At one point — while defending the bill against criticism from Lofgren, who argued that the retained data obtained could even be used during civil cases unrelated to federal criminal cases – Chairman Smith tried to make the case that the courts were not part of “the government” and therefore would not have access to the information retained by the ISPs.

Lofgren also pointed out a major weakness in the purported objective of the legislation – its failure to stop someone from circumventing its reach simply by going to a library or coffee shop with an internet connection to engage anonymously in illicit activities. John Conyers, the top Democrat on the Committee, also expressed reservations with the bill; noting, “This is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It’s creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes.”

Even Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who hardly has been a friend to privacy (the REAL ID Act is one of his signature pieces of legislation), found the bill problematic. He said, “[The bill] poses numerous risks that well outweigh any benefits, and I’m not convinced that it will contribute in a significant way to protecting children.”

Julian Sanchez, a research fellow at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, pegged the legislation for what it is – a data grab by the federal government. He wrote recently that, the “handful of provisions in the bill that really deal specifically with child porn are a fig leaf for its true purpose: A sweeping data retention requirement meant to turn Internet Service Providers and online companies into surrogate snoops for the government’s convenience.”

Federal agencies have pushed since at least 2005 to enact legislation forcing ISPs to retain customer data for their ease of access. Let us hope this current effort fails.

by Bob Barr — The Barr Code

50 comments Add your comment

merv the perv

August 8th, 2011
7:45 am

Most porn sites now have links and pop ups that may include underage participants, thus any visit to any porn site would make a internet surfer a criminal. Even those who only want to see the girls gone wild videos (not to mention the paris hilton video).

Hef

August 8th, 2011
8:35 am

Yeah…this is important stuff, the internet. Congress and the President need to spend more time focusing on the web and databases and should spend less time worrying about things like the gazillion $$$ deficit, a downgrade in the country’s credit rating, unemployment and another recession.

  

August 8th, 2011
8:39 am

Most porn sites now have links and pop ups that may include underage participants

This is absolutely false. “Most” sites do not, and typically clearly spell out (state specifically) that any models/actors/girls are at least 18 yrs of age and have their proof of age on file.

Their are sites that do cater to that but that’s a different thing, and they’re often not based in the US.

Buzz G

August 8th, 2011
8:45 am

Our Federal Gov’t has become a real monster, stealing our money and our privacy. The founding fathers would be sickened if they could see what they created. This is exactly the kind of stuff they wanted to prevent. The whole purpose of the Bill of Rights was to prevent the Federal Government from this kind of over reaching. To me this is prohibited as Unreasonable Search and Seizure. Sadly, too few people beyond Bob Barr are paying attention.

JimmyZ

August 8th, 2011
8:57 am

Ummm….so I’m supposed to trust that a company that can’t even reliably feed a tv signal down a wire to my house is going to safeguard every byte of credit card and bank data that I send while holding it for a full year?

Show Low Here We Come

August 8th, 2011
9:00 am

Isn’t interesting that the Right continuously screams about smaller government, and getting the government out of our lives, except when it comes to social behavior that they judge as “offensive”.

G.

August 8th, 2011
9:12 am

It never ceases to amaze me how you whiny, ever-repressed liberals want to protect your “privacy” at the expense of everything else. If you are not committing a crime, why are you worried about what information the government collects? It is hard enough to catch the perverts and criminals in this world without the Bob Barr’s or ACLU’S/NAACP’S constantly claiming conspiracy and suppression………

DW

August 8th, 2011
9:15 am

@G

You are the idiot. Please go enjoy a police state somewhere else and let the rest of us live our lives. Thank you.

Greg S.

August 8th, 2011
9:25 am

Data grab indeed! For the love of God and Country, Vote These People Out! What is wrong with you people? The government REALLY DOES want to be Big Brother! The government will raise taxes and tell you it’s a lowering of “real tax” and damned if the American people won’t buy it! Political office was NEVER meant to be a profession in this country. Today America is in shambles due to power grabbing people like president Obama(lower case intended). Don’t doubt for one minute the government won’t use the excuse “…for your safety and security…” when usurping every right of the general populace.

VOTE THESE PEOPLE OUT!!!!!

DW

August 8th, 2011
9:38 am

@Greg

How the HELL are you blaming Obama when its 2 idiot republicans pushing the legislation???????

D. M.

August 8th, 2011
9:54 am

DW, one of the pushers is a rep. the other is the Chair of the DNC. G., how would you feel if the police showed up at your door and asked to search your house without a warrant? If you’re not hiding anything what would you be worried about?

John

August 8th, 2011
10:12 am

The German Stasi which was obsessed with gathering the personal data of lawful German citizens is being reborn here in the US. Welcome to the Stasi States Of America.

Sam

August 8th, 2011
10:16 am

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is as Progressive as it gets. Talk about having your head up your azz.

The downfall of this country is partly attributable to the outright stupidity of its citizens. Just dumb as he!!. Ignorant as all get out. And not willing to even try. Pathetic lumpen deserve what you get. Especially G. To the showers with you, ya boot licking puzzy.

Thomas Jefferson

August 8th, 2011
10:20 am

@G
A recent book discussed the fact that the laws in this country have become so convoluted and wide sweeping that the average American commits 3 felonies every day, whether they know it or not. So the question is not whether or not you are doing anything wrong, but whether the government has decided to prosecute you for it. With all this additional data, they can now essentially hold every American hostage with the threat of prosecution, which is the very definition of a police state.

RxDawg

August 8th, 2011
11:00 am

I’m speechless… I feel like I’m watching a huge car crash unfold and there is nothing we can do, but talk about it as it happens. More laws… less freedoms… Canada? Australia? Got room for more?

Chappy

August 8th, 2011
11:14 am

@jefferson: I think you are quoting an urban legend, otherwise list felonies the average american is committing-everyday.

NancyT

August 8th, 2011
11:18 am

It seems like every other week we hear about some company that lost all of our personal information (names, addresses, phone, credit card) to thieves. These are companies that supposedly have the resources to hire people to properly protect this data and even they can’t do it right. I don’t like the idea of every little ISP out there saving my information where it can be hacked. If someone wants to enforce a law like this, then they have to enforce balancing law the requires that the information be stored off-line in a secure place where someone will be held responsible if the information is stolen. ID theft is more of a problem than child porn. By fixing one lesser problem, they make another, worse problem, worse!

WOW

August 8th, 2011
11:25 am

How the HELL are you blaming Obama when its 2 idiot republicans pushing the legislation???????

Yes, DW, why blame Obama? He has done nothing right? I agree…he has done NOTHING. He sits there merrily watching the train wreck unfold. He has not a clue, but to sit there in his ivory tower and sing koombaya. I guess the big group hug when he took office is over.

DW

August 8th, 2011
11:49 am

@WOW

Youre right. Things would be SOO much better if only we had McCain and Sarah Retarded Palin in office

Thomas Jefferson

August 8th, 2011
11:59 am

I cannot quote the entire book by Harvey Silverstein here, so do your own research, but have you ever kept a prescription medication in any container other than the original prescription bottle, like your pocket or a weekly pill organizer? Then you committed a felony. Ever watch a video on the internet posted by someone that does not own the copyright (like YouTube)? A violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. There are hundreds more. Sleep tight knowing the police could be busting down your door at any moment if they so chose.

human

August 8th, 2011
12:18 pm

all porn sites should not been created…

Internet Privacy « DeHavelle.com

August 8th, 2011
12:19 pm

[...] And a bill, put forward by Representative Debbie (“They want to make illegal immigration a crime!”) Wasserman-Schultz that would require all Internet service providers to track every website that you go to and report it to the federal government, in case you might be suspected of a crime in the future. Bob Barr’s column talks about that here. [...]

killerj

August 8th, 2011
12:20 pm

Another power grab to extort revenue from the internet,let me find a way to get my foot in the door.Go Tea Party.

merv the perv

August 8th, 2011
12:56 pm

WRONG!! If you believe the porn site’s claim that no participants are underage, then you are the absolutely false one, (with falsies). Right. Trust the porn guys. The horrible fact is that we are a nation of perves in a world of child abusing pervs. ;There is a sex slave trade and the criminal johns are the average joe schmoe respectable citizen type. It’s what will bring the wrath of the almighty down upon the globe eventually if not tomorrow. repent ye sinners!!!

But dont sit there and tell me you are certain there are no underaged players on your fave porn site.

Wow. How long has it been since you used falsies in a sentence?

WOW

August 8th, 2011
12:59 pm

DW

August 8th, 2011
1:28 pm

@WOW

whatever helps you sleep at night..

Anon

August 8th, 2011
2:17 pm

It’s all become so very disguisting. How is it possible that so many of our elected officials have completely lost touch with the people? I understand that we mostly hear about the lunatics in office that want so badly to turn the country into a real life version of “1984″. As few as it may be, they hold too much sway in our gov’t, thus our lives. Instead of wide sweeping bills we need a wide sweeping cleansing of our law makers.

Ga Republicon

August 8th, 2011
2:29 pm

So when’s the Revolution happening? I’m just saying, short of that how do you expect things are gonna change? Elections?? (LOL) Again, I’m just sayin’…people do AaaALLLL this whining about eeeeevvvvrything.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

August 8th, 2011
3:13 pm

When using the internet in this era of tyranny, technology and Godlessness, I don’t expect to have a right to privacy. I assume one of the agencies in the federal government are listening or perhaps viewing an image of me even if there is a law against it. Everyone should realize by now that we are not living in Kansas where the Constitution of the United States was the enforced law of the land.

The Barr Code’s reference to Congressmen giving rise to some interesting if not particularly intellectual discussions remind me of grandmother’s reaction to having her constitutional gangrene left leg removed below the knee. She would talk incessantly about it as though it were a part of her governing body, etc, etc, etc.

Often we saw her rubbing her leg, scratching it, and swinging it from side to side. She would put on socks beginning at the left foot while wiggling her toes because, according to her, they were too stiff. Sometimes she would stand abruptly before reality rudely reminded her that the constitutional gangrene leg had been removed. But if you are a political neophyte, her actions might have you to believe her left leg is all good.

The Barr Code must be reprogrammed. If the tyrannical federal government or other subversives want an act to “Protect Children from Internet Pornographers,” and or for the purpose of retaining names, addresses, credit card and bank account information, websites visited, and for IP addresses on all customers for one year, politicians know that there is no real law or particular “intellectual discussions” that’s able to stop them in the era of tyranny, technology, and Godlessness.

Amen?

WOW

August 8th, 2011
3:18 pm

Change you can believe in…. baby!

John

August 8th, 2011
3:33 pm

To “Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions” @ August 8th, 2011 3:13 pm:

You are either off your meds or need your dosage increased.

S&P

August 8th, 2011
3:35 pm

Change you can believe in “AA+”

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

August 8th, 2011
3:44 pm

Amen John,

I definitely agree with you. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said if two of us shall agree on earth as touching anything that we shall ask it shall be done for us of his Father which is in heaven.

Amen?

Visgodred

August 8th, 2011
3:53 pm

@G

You don’t have to be doing something illegal to not want your activities under constant surveillance. There must and should be a place in the world that people can openly espouse unpopular views with out the fear of reprisal. If Slavery where still legal Anti Slavery advocates would be afraid to go to anti slavery sites for fear that the authorities might track them and put an end to the activism. There are better ways to protect children that tracking every action taken by every citizen. Here is an idea, invest a little in your social services. It might make a bigger difference to actively prevent abuse than to track someone who is witnessing the abuse post facto.

ScamVet

August 8th, 2011
3:59 pm

Not sure if you heard, Bob, but the US is in deep crap thanks to left wing retards.

Granny Godzilla

August 8th, 2011
4:00 pm

Anyone want to help me get my 400 lb body off the sofa to see a doctor?

DebbieDoRight

August 8th, 2011
4:01 pm

Well, I just got kicked off my food stamp program. Again.

The real WOW

August 8th, 2011
4:02 pm

“How the HELL are you blaming Obama when its 2 idiot republicans pushing the legislation???????”

Well, looks like we have ourselves another illiterate left wing retard.

merv the perv

August 8th, 2011
7:44 pm

It was Cheney and Bush what ruined the world, and that’s a historical fact.

Jack

August 8th, 2011
7:52 pm

Some broad sweeping needs to take place. Where does Barr think our children get their ideas for mayhem?

AnonyMouse

August 8th, 2011
8:57 pm

BUTT NUGGET, BUTT NUGGET, BUTT NUGGET, BUTT NUGGET

MrLiberty

August 8th, 2011
9:36 pm

Really, seriously, what the hell is the problem with Lamar Smith. Every time there is a horrible piece of legislation, count on this scumbag to either be promoting it, introducing it, or co-sponsoring it. Aren’t the people of his district ready to try some freedom for a change?

[...] Child Porn Bill Cloaks Fed Data GrabAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)He wrote recently that, the “handful of provisions in the bill that really deal specifically with child porn are a fig leaf for its true purpose: A sweeping data retention requirement meant to turn Internet Service Providers and online companies into …Could this legislation kill the Internet?FCW.com [...]

caslosgvv

August 9th, 2011
8:35 am

Almost all politicians love power and will try to get as much of it as they can. They are masters of disguising this lust for power in the name of “protecting the people”.

DebbieDoRight

August 9th, 2011
8:41 am

Bob Barr: The problem with the legislation is that it sweeps far more broadly than necessary to protect children from internet predators. It would require, for example, that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) retain vast quantities of information on all customers, not just those on whom the government has a suspicion of guilt

Barr I can understand your concern. Since you get 75% of your dates from the internet and 90% of your dates are barely legal, I feel your pain.

gscott

August 9th, 2011
8:43 am

People like Lamar Smith(R-TX) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz(D-FL)won’t be happy until the U.S.A. is a 3rd world police state. Two steps towards this goal are make it illegal to own guns and get rid of privacy rights. Another is step is to destroy the value of the dollar. The left and right are working hand in hand toward this goal whether all of them know it or not.

Barackalypse NOW

August 9th, 2011
5:42 pm

DebbieDoRight

Did that sex change operation work out for you?

[...] Child Porn Bill Cloaks Fed Data Grab | The Barr Code. Share this:EmailFacebookRedditDiggPrint Posted in Constitution, Law, Opinion, United [...]

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