This is kind of revolting:
The Securing Adolescents From Exploitation-Online Act, a bill, according to CNET, “saying that anyone offering an open Wi-Fi connection to the public must report illegal images including ‘obscene’ cartoons and drawings—or face fines of up to $300,000,” breezed through the House yesterday. The vote was an overwhelming—and frightening—409 to 2, with only Ron Paul and Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) opposing the bill.
Proof, if you ever needed it, that Democrats and Republicans alike don’t give a shit what they are doing as long as they are PROTECTING THE KIDS.
What a disgrace.
I’m hard-pressed to figure out how someone is supposed to find out those images have been in their network. If I have an open wi-fi setup on my router, I am basically offering WI-FI to my neighborhood. But unless I intercept every single packet, reassemble them, and look at them, how do I know the info has been on my network (and if I do this, I’m also now in potential possession of illegal media as well)? It’s not like packets are generally logged; all I can ascertain is when someone joined my network, what the MAC address on the network adapter is, and what IP I gave them unless I dig a little deeper while they’re still connected (in which case I can get their potential username, operating system, and a few other similar details).
Granted the aforementioned scenario is simpler than what an ISP provides, but they’re also not going to log the actual media since recording everyone’s network traffic would be upwards of several terabytes of data per month. Maybe you can get individual filenames of requested data (“porn.gif”), but I can’t imagine a simple filename being evidence of guilt since it’s so easily spoofed.
I’ll take “things that are going to die in the court system” for $100 Alex. Why didn’t they call this the “Make a bunch of lawyers a little richer Act of 2007”?
Let’s not even consider the gross violation of the 1st Amendment and talk about the gross burden of enforcement being leveled on the civilian population.
This absolutely stinks of a play by hard line internet cable companies to squelch city-wide Wi-Fi and other small scale distributors. Does no one in the House have the balls to point this out?
Zifnab, I think no one in the House has the brains to point it out, and I doubt that Paul and Broun are objecting to it on anything resembling technical reasons. That’s not to say they’re all stupid (though it’s not a stretch)–it’s just that they, for the most part, can barely handle email, and don’t have a clue as to how the rest of it works. Hell, I’m more than fairly competent, and I don’t get it most of the time.
Politics about children are never rational. They could pass a law forcing cops to arrest anyone who even thinks about hurting a child, and it’d pass 408-1.
They don’t give a fuck if its enforceable, constitutional, or sensible. Nobody dares get “caught” voting “against children”.
It’s a crime to possess obscene images. Near as I can figure out, this law makes it also a crime not to possess them. If you’re a WiFi provider who somehow becomes aware of them passing through your system, you’re liable for a six-figure fine if you don’t retain them and pass them along to law enforcement.
I will take a bet that this one will go down for the same reason that the library porn act got trashed: unconstitutional.
And you wonder why I am so vehement in going after things like 2257?
Why not just have the place with the WiFi connection set up a firewall at the router. MS and security s/w companies have blacklist databases. Just block “porn” sites at the local Starbucks at the router. Maybe Hillary and the Demonocrat Congress will then add Malkin, CPAC and Freepers to the “blacklist” in 2009.
My, my you don’t think that comcast, quest and other DSL and Cable providers might have some ulterior motive in pushing this in hopes of limited public wi-fi options?
Naw, never happen.
God bless the Judiciary. Sometimes I think intelligent, reasonable justices are the only thing keeping this country from passing the Mandatory Act Like Lemmings Act of 2008.
It’s worth noting that if our political atmosphere wasn’t so horribly toxic – and every Democrat with common sense didn’t look at this bill as FOX News Scandal Bait – we wouldn’t see as much of this. It’s also worth noting that if Democrats had voted this down en mass as categorically stupid, we would have had the pleasure of seeing a Republican v. Democrat credibility showdown. And those are always fun. Instead we get to watch non-starter legislation die at the foot of the first Appeals Court worth the dirt it sits on.
Well, the bill applies to “[w]hoever, while engaged in providing an electronic communication service or a remote computing service to the public through a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, obtains actual knowledge” of certain violations of pornography laws, and it doesn’t include any duty to make efforts to obtain such actual knowledge, so the technical concerns above aren’t a problem if this becomes law and is reasonably applied. Of course that also means this bill, if it becomes law and is reasonably applied, will have basically no effect whatsoever. The companion bill in the Senate has also been dead in the water since February.
Looks to me like the House had a vote on something completely ineffective that will never become law just so members will have a nice talking point about voting to protect the kids. Looks more craven than scary to me.
Legislative info and text courtesy of thomas.loc.gov, which doesn’t allow for direct links to bill info (search for H. R. 3791)
Sorry Zif but the dems would vote for and even propose shit like this, see the attempts to censor music. See also the Child Online Protection act or whatever it was that was recently shot down which was also pushed into being by dems. They have absolutely no problem whatsoever pushing for shit like this and will gladly do so given the opportunity.
Dennis - SGMM
Keith makes a good point. If you install a wireless router and you set no security, or you turn the security settings off, then you’re offering an open Wi-Fi connection to the public.
The saddest part of this whole charade is that our legislators are so ignorant of a not-exactly-new technology. Alternative fuels? Energy independence? Right. Store firewood, collect recipes for cooking up house pets.
I may have to rethink my determination not to support Ron Paul.
How did something this stupid even get out of committee? Sounds like something from the “Tubes” Stevens days. Hopefully it’ll just die in the Senate.
Good to see Congressman NO! had some sense. And they call him crazy. Go Ron Paul!
This proposed law makes no sense. If the owner of a router is responsible for the content that flows through it, then isn’t the ISP reponsible for that content before it gets to my router? Why do they get to shovel shit by the ton and I can get fucked over for moving a couple of ounces of the shit outta my tap?
And if routers are the point of control, are they going to start building routerware that lets me monitor and moderate what is going through my router? Or do I have to do that myself? I’m a little rusty at C but I suppose I can come up with something ……..
Who comes up with this lunatic crap? Besides jerkoff Republicans, I mean?
Uh-oh, my dad’s in trouble. I’ve been trying for years to tell him over the phone how to set up his wi-fi as a password protected network but he always gives up 2 minutes in figuring where he lives why bother with a password he’ll just forget.
Why just adolescents? Oh yes, it made a nifty acronym. Maybe they’ll come up with a law called Securing Kids from Internet Dangers, Molesters And Rude Content.
This one needs to be killed in the Senate. Contact your Senators. A thirty second phone call or email could stop it.
God damn it – I hate when the conventional “pox on both houses” critique is apt. Its very, very frustrating. This NEVER should have been left out of committee. I really want to sit Nancy Pelosi down in one of my Intro to the American Political System classes one day. It would do enormous credit to the Democratic party. Republicans get how politics work. Democrats are both wimpy and stupid. Its a lethal combo for my “preferred” party.
So if I pick up an old laptop in some second hand store, park myself outside a Congressman’s house where the marginally tech-savvy kids have set up an open wireless network, I could cause some serious anonymous mischief, I think.
Perhaps the NSA is looking to create a market for consumer versions of Echelon, to shore up their budget. This could be their first volley into setting the government agencies up as software providers.
Before long, they’ll start to provide home security services, too. Just you wait and see.
Big Brother is watching. All for only $19.95 a month, plus camera rental!
I’m going to propose another new law. The S.H.U.T. T.H.E. F.U.C.K. U.P. A.N.D. S.I.T. D.O.W.N. Y.O.U. T.E.C.H.T.A.R.D.S. Act of 2007 will protect the Intertubes from our Congress.
Apologies in advance to anyone who is arrested for letting the naughty word above through their router.
And how is the kid at Starbucks supposed to know which device has downloaded the Flintstones porn pic? At any given time how many laptops, cellphones, PDAs, Nintendo DSs, PSPs and iPods and a squillion other things online in a Starbucks?
So really the only way to protect the children would have everyone’s device searched as they leave a WiFi enabled area.
As a librarian who works in a system that offers open wireless to the public, this is a terrifying law that is unenforceable and unconstitutional. We’ve got a hard enough time working the filtering system on the networked computers: now we’ve got to go around checking every laptop in every corner? Or even the users jacking on (and off) in their vans in the parking lot outside? Sheesh.
Folks, this is basically a hack job story by a known wolf-crier. YOU’RE BEING TAKEN!
See, for example:
“We need to calm down over the SAFE act”
[semi-duplicate post because of moderation-trap]
Folks, check around before you waste effort on outrage, or direct that outrage to the “journalistic” hack who is crying wolf here.
If this is a step in the direction of making the entire Internet family friendly, it’s certainly a good thing. I applaud those Democrats, who are clearly the largest consumers of porn, voted against their own interests.
A wonderful display of bipartisanship.
Red State disagrees and would rather blame this all on the Democrats. Rather silly, really, since the SAFE act passed 409-2.
What a man or woman do in their home with porn is their own damn business.
Secure your own fucking children.
This is unutterably stupid, totally unenforceable, and unconstitutional. It offends me that my congressman, who represents the district in which Microsoft, Adobe, and Amazon are all based, didn’t bother to go find out enough to know to vote against this bill.
This could have been a great opportunity to tack on one of those earmarks or amendments that kills every other bill. Now we’ll never get to see Bush veto the Adolescent Protection / Woodstock Museum / Amnesty / Feed Christians to Lions Act of 2007.
Possibly, but I’m thinking maybe they’ll also look into a hardware solution. Require SAFE chips be installed in new routers. Sorta like the old V-chip for TVs, but in a post 9/11 world, put some real muscle into it. All in the name of saving the children.
With the SAFE chip, any offensive material passing through the router would have the header info immediately modified giving the IP address of the new Department of Save The Children as the recipient. The router will then automatically shut down until the department reviews the material for criminal action.
If the department review determines the law wasn’t violated, it will send a signal to the router to reboot. Any attempts before conclusion of the review to manually press a reset button on the router will be met with its self defense capability. It will taser your ass. 9/11 changed everything.
That was quick: liberal talk show host Bernie Ward indicted for child porn. Child Pornographers are naturally concerned.
According to Ars Technica (a techie site that occasionally dabbles in politics when they overlap) it explicitly does NOT require people to monitor or filter anything. If they become aware of something illegal, they have to report it. They’re under no obligation to try to ferret it out.
The Other Steve
See, it has a Sargeant Schultz defense.
I know nothing… Nothing!
This just gives all the more reason for service providers to not do anything to try to filter content.
Bob In Pacifica
Tell your leaders what you dream.
Fanfuckingtastic. The Democrat who snagged Tom Delay’s old seat appears to be only half the batshit crazy fuck Delay was. Nice.
Molly Ivins is dead. Jim Hightower, Willie Nelson, and Kinky Friedman are the last sane Texans.
“Folks, this is basically a hack job story by a known wolf-crier. YOU’RE BEING TAKEN!
See, for example:
“We need to calm down over the SAFE act””
All this really means is that Congress was being foolish rather than dangerous. If they are not forcing people to monitor their networks, then people will just ignore potential violations ever more studiously. Unless it becomes standard practice to vigilantly search for child pornography, it will be almost impossible to prosecute anyone for not reporting a violation.
And that defeats the entire purpose of the law.
Porn sells best to the sexually repressed. Like, you know, conservative Republicans and stuff.
connisseurs collectors single menscientific researchers like myself.
I see that fat slob Bernie Ward is busy doing his bit of… uh… research (his word)… on the subject of child porn online.
Couldn’t happend to a nicer repugnant loud-mouthed liberal jerk.
DeClan is hardly an alarmist and the this guy at the link, who I’ve never heard of, misses the point entirely. The data retention is exactly what’s alarming about it. We’re talking about an administration that uses the Patriot Act to pursue ordinary crimes instead of terrorists, who has issued thousands of NSL’s against innocent Americans. Who used the NSA to collect huge databases on all our internet activities. These bills are written in such broad language that their original intent can easily be misapplied and used for more over-arching surveillance.
And while calling your senators to ask them to kill this act, you might also tell them to kill the RESTORE Act which is just as scary, if not more. That one could effectively criminalize any political dissent.
What I find troubling about this is who decides what’s obscene? My sister-in-law just sent me the cutest picture of my niece and nephew playing in the bathtub together – youi know – naked (‘gasp’). Under this regulation, what’s stopping them from fining the provider?
The Other Steve
Proof that there is no such thing as a sane Texan.
The Other Steve
Well /. and reason.com are hardly known for intelligently, rationally and calmly debating issues.
Besides this is all the fault of Microsoft.
It’s already in the Router, you can configure and block access to sites at the router level and it does not take a genius to do.
Enforcing this would be what they want:
The logical consequences of this Act — surveillance of our online activities and searches of everyone’ computer — is an intended feature, not a bug.