SOPA author not done with the internet

After the unprecedented protests throughout the internet, one might think that Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) would figure out that perhaps folks take the internet pretty seriously.  One might think that…but they would apparently be wrong.

Another day, another threat to internet freedom. According to International Business Times, beloved Texas Representative Lamar Smith is the author of a new bill that includes extreme surveillance provisions, and a name that will make opponents sound like criminals: H.R. 1981 (bump that last digit up three times for a more fitting title), or the ‘Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011.’

The new name has outraged many opponents of SOPA and other bills that could bring more government control to the internet, like PIPA and ACTA. It’s hard to imagine the whole world turning out against a bill with the words ‘protect’ and ‘children’ in the title, regardless of the actual contents of the bill.

In the words of Business Insider’s David Seaman, it’s “just a B.S. name so that politicians in the House and Senate are strong-armed into voting for it, even though it contains utterly insane 1984-style Big Brother surveillance provisions.” Ouch.

So, what’s so dangerous about the bill? If it’s really designed to protect innocent children from pedophiles, why should anyone (other than pedophiles, of course) be worried about it? As David Seaman pointed out, H.R. 1981 contains some very hefty surveillance provisions, including one which would require ISPs to keep track of the IP addresses it assigns to its users, and to record that information for at least 18 months. Other information like credit card data and who knows what else would also be stored.

So…please tell me why on Earth it is so essential to store all this data on everyone who uses the internet?  I mean, if the cause is really to combat pedophiles, is all of this really necessary?

Of course it isn’t.

The thing one must remember is that the name of the bill often has nothing to do with its application.  This is one of those cases really.  Smith has, yet again, decided to try and create draconian regulations on the internet that really do little more than try to make Orwell’s nightmare a reality.

First, let’s look at the idiotic idea of storing all this data.  No system is secure, so requiring an additional storage point for data like credit card numbers is absolutely moronic.  Should this pass, hackers will have even more places to look for sensitive data, and this one is particularly nasty.

You see, a lot of people won’t purchase from a website that doesn’t appear to have sufficient security.  However, if a town only has one high spped internet provider, you have zero control over what kind of security they have, so now hackers have a golden opportunity to penetrate the ISP and retreive this information which may not have as much in the way of security.

Of course, Smith doesn’t care about that.  He is, like far to many politicians, more worried about political victories than he actually is about doing what’s right.  At this point though, I’m in serious doubts that most of his kind even know what “doing what’s right” really is.


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