Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The SAFETY Act and Recording All Internet Activity...

Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas has introduced a new bill, the SAFETY Act (Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today’s Youth), which would "require ISPs to record all users’ surfing activity, IM conversations and email traffic indefinitely". This is yet another attempt by the federal government to impose surveillance measures on all internet activity, and poses a serious threat to our personal privacy.

The stated intent of the bill is to reduce child pornography - which is an obviously worthwhile goal. However, it seems that every few weeks another piece of similar legislation is proposed (and ultimately fails) in Congress. The original SAFETY Act was shot down last summer due to fundamental free speech concerns.

Does it bother you, my loyal readers, to think that your Internet Service Provider is recording every single website you visit, every instant message conversation you have, every email you send or receive? Not only is it happening, but proposed legislation such as the SAFETY Act would make it LEGALLY REQUIRED.

This is unacceptable. There are constitutional protections to prevent exactly this sort of thing - the right to privacy, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, etc. The Seminal is right to say that this is a terrifying development. It would strip away people's constitutional rights, and yet have virtually no impact on reducing child pornography.


At 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link! This act is indeed a horrible idea. Urge anyone your know to contact their representative and get this bill defeated.

At 7:31 PM, Blogger Robert J. Domanski said...

I might also mention along similar lines the CALEA Act, which makes it easier for law enforcement to wiretap digital telephone (VoIP) networks. So we can include telephone conversations on the list with IMs, emails, and web surfing.

For anyone like J-Ro who wants to take action to defeat bills such as this, check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation.


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