Author Of SAFE Act Insists He Didn't Mean For It To Cover WiFi… But Won't Promise Any Changes

from the well-that-helps dept

Yesterday we posted on the no-discussion-necessary rapid approval of the SAFE Act, and highlighted some of the more questionable problems in the bill. While the post was pretty clear about why we (and others) believed it covered WiFi (the broadly worded language in the bill, which we had in the post), we’ve been getting some emails from folks who say that we twisted the legislation out of context. It probably doesn’t help that whoever submitted our post to Digg (and got it Dugg onto the front page) did so in a misleading way, making it sound like our post said something it did not. However, with so much interest in this bill, it’s worth digging a little deeper. The bill’s author quickly responded to the charges by saying that it wasn’t intended to cover open WiFi networks, but the bill itself doesn’t make that clear — and the courts tend to go by the text of the law, rather than intent (intent can be helpful, but it’s much less important). The author of the original article has a clarifying conversation with the author of the bill, asking him if he’ll change the text to make it clear that open WiFi is not covered — and he gets no promises. Instead, in typical “protect the children” fashion, the guy just goes on about what an awful problem this is. The thing is, no one is denying that child pornography is a terrible thing. What we’re worried about is incredibly broadly worded bills that were clearly written and approved in a hurry with little oversight, and which do not appear to take into account the unintended consequences of what they’re putting into law.

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Comments on “Author Of SAFE Act Insists He Didn't Mean For It To Cover WiFi… But Won't Promise Any Changes”

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MJ (profile) says:

Re: Safe Act

That’s what I was wondering. Maybe they’re *still* only required to report ones that are brought to their attention? In which case this law would be redundant and create no new real crimes.
It’s already a crime to fail to report what you know about, and you’re already allowed to choose ignorance and wait for someone to tell you what you’re hosting, which especially benefits big places like say imageshack, who can’t feasibly go over every image, but do have a reporting system.

Rich Kulawiec says:

Election-year grandstanding

That’s what this is. No more, no less. I’ll bet that the
utterly clueless moron behind this bill can’t even quote
statistics on the incident of child pornography online,
can’t describe its economic, criminal or social aspects,
and wouldn’t grasp how trivially easy it is to modify
photographs (and video) at the bit level to slip them
past any detection method. The purpose of this bill
is NOT to “protect the chillllllllddrrrrrrrun”; it’s to
get this dirtbag re-elected. And that, in turn, is why
it’s being rushed through just in time to be an early Christmas present for its author.

Oh, let me anticipate the you’re-soft-on-kiddie-porn
retort. No, exactly the opposite. But I’d prefer to
see real, effective, substantive action taken
that directly addresses the problem rather than a farce
like this.

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