House Committee Approves 'Keep Every American's Digital Data for Submission to the Federal Government Without a Warrant Act of 2011'

from the unfortunate dept

A few weeks ago we wrote about a ridiculously cynical attempt by some in Congress (mainly, Reps Lamar Smith, Bill Flores, Randy Forbes, Dutch Ruppersberger and Debbie Wasserman Schultz) to sneak through a massive data retention bill by pretending it was an anti-child porn bill. Of course, as we noted, the bill does almost nothing to stop or prevent child porn. Instead, it adds tremendously dangerous data retention requirements that will decrease user privacy, increase the risk of data being exposed, increase the value of certain hacking targets… all because some law enforcement folks want to be able to cruise through the data at will. Thankfully there was at least some criticism of the data retention aspect of the bill, and an attempt to remove the data retention pieces from the bill… but none of it succeeded and the bill was voted out of committee, meaning it will go to a full House debate. Lamar Smith defended the bill with this bit of ridiculous insanity:

“Every piece of prematurely discarded information could be the footprint of a child predator…. This bill ensures that the online footprints of predators are not erased.”

If he actually believes that, he’s a fool. First of all, those who are actually preying on children likely already know how to disguise their “footprints” online. Second, just because some criminals might use some technology doesn’t mean we should give up all of our privacy and civil rights. I mean, it would be just as easy to say that every piece of prematurely discarded email written by Lamar Smith could be the footprint of a criminal. It might not be. In fact, it likely isn’t… but by requiring that all of Lamar Smith’s emails be made public, we ensure that such online footprints are not erased. See the problem with that logic? Tragically, Smith apparently doesn’t recognize how he’s selling out the privacy of pretty much the entire country.

Kudos, however, to those who pushed back against this aspect of the bill. Rep. Zoe Lofgren brilliantly pushed a proposal (seriously) to rename the bill the: “Keep Every American’s Digital Data for Submission to the Federal Government Without a Warrant Act of 2011.” She’s right. If only there were some sort of “truth in advertising” law for Congressional bills that would require such bills to be labeled properly….

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Comments on “House Committee Approves 'Keep Every American's Digital Data for Submission to the Federal Government Without a Warrant Act of 2011'”

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ConorT says:

Re: Not a bad idea

But what would we call it? It can’t just say what it does, it has to be something that no one will vote down like:

“Save the children by correctly labelling Bills for Congress Act”

Every badly labelled bill could do unspeakable damage to children, so this bill is essential.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: Not a bad idea

I’m pretty sure I read a study somewhere by a highly respected conservative thinktank that said that mislabeled legislation is being used to support terrorism, communism, drug cartels, copyright violations, and the further erosion of the American Way of Life?. Surely our representatives want to make sure that the unpatriotic mislabeling of our legislation is not used against Americans!?!

Unfortunately, I can’ find a link to the study anymore. It’s mysteriously disappeared from my browsing history. The KGB-infiltrated Anonymous hackers probably hacked my system so I couldn’t share it with others!

Anonymous Coward says:

A last-minute rewrite of the bill expands the information that commercial Internet providers are required to store to include customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and temporarily-assigned IP addresses, some committee members suggested. By a 7-16 vote, the panel rejected an amendment that would have clarified that only IP addresses must be stored.

So that means that there isn’t really an issue since ISPs keep this data for normal business billing practices anyways. They are not being forced to keep the URLs of the sites you visit – which would be a real invasion of privacy. Just the normal stuff that they have to keep anyways for liability and billing reasons.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I'm very sorry

…you’re only *just* now losing faith in your “representative”?

Yes. Actually.

I used to have a U.S. representative who made a real effort to talk to his constituents. Then I moved to a different city: into an area with a long history of corruption. It’s different. No one here has any faith in the political process. It’s all rigged, and people are just resigned.

gorehound (profile) says:

No Intention to vote for either Republicans or Democrats

Like I said.i am so sick of Washington and their BS krap and it is all because of those two parties.Election after Election like a bunch of lemmings or sheep in a herd we just do the same ole again and again.Then we complain on these boards or going to a protest or writing to your rep and what do we get in the end for all that taxes and SSI we pay out.
Time for me to never vote for either of these parties.It is rather obvious who their masters are and how they will not stand up for the freedoms they are supposed to be defending.
These asses put us into the huge debt and then they argue like a bunch of little kids on recess.
We the people have to make a choice next election and I am hoping more of us will see the light and really use our brains.

noone (profile) says:

Re: No Intention to vote for either Republicans or Democrats

this is why the Constitutional Conservatives need to take over the Republican Party. It will take 3 election cycles if we hang together and by the 3rd year even typically leftist states will be turning our way. Don’t give them the vote because they don’t give a hill of beans who their candidate is it is us who need to stick together and MAKE the system work of US. The only way to do that is to throw the bums out and elect constitutional conservatives (tea party if you like)

NullOp says:

Vote NO

THIS is the kind of legislation that will toll the beginning of the end for any kind of freedoms in America! This legislation is absolute Bull Cookies! The people trying to get this bill passed have no idea what they are doing! They are ONLY interested in their own rise to power! And THAT IS ALL! Write your representatives today and speak out against this massively stupid piece of proposed legislation! Or even better, go sit in his/her office and demand an audience!

And, as always, vote EVERY sitting senator and congress-person out of office at the next election! Oh, and don’t forget to un-elect Obama!

Joshy (user link) says:

The Wallstreet Journal did a nice story on “Women And Children First: Technology And Moral Panic”

Leo Laporte of This Week in Tech discussed this on the July 17th episode

There was, she says, an initial pushback about electrifying homes in the U.S.: ?If you electrify homes you will make women and children and vulnerable. Predators will be able to tell if they are home because the light will be on, and you will be able to see them. So electricity is going to make women vulnerable. Oh and children will be visible too and it will be predators, who seem to be lurking everywhere, who will attack.

?There was some wonderful stuff about [railway trains] too in the U.S., that women?s bodies were not designed to go at 50 miles an hour. Our uteruses would fly out of our bodies as they were accelerated to that speed.?

Anonymous Coward says:

To hear these vapid legislators whining...

…you would think that child porn is an epidemic problem encompassing millions upon millions of abusers who are clogging up the intertubes with their illicit material.

It isn’t.

They’re not.

I’ve spent an entire career studying, analyzing and cataloging (online) abusers of all descriptions. Child porn is a tiny and insigificant problem. (Which is NOT, careless readers, to suggest that it is tiny and insignificant to those affected by it. It is not. It IS, however, tiny and insignificant on the scale of the Internet.)

There are far worse problems affecting far more people to be dealt with: spam, phishing, pathetically weak “security”, etc. These problems really ARE epidemic — and they are not susceptible to legislative solutions, by the way.

What we see here is cowardice and stupidity: the legislators voting for this have never run a tcpdump nor have they dissected a child porn web site to see what’s there. This is all beyond their pitifully feeble minds and limited comprehension; one might as well attempt to explain Kant to a beagle. So they will pass this and crow about it to their constituents, congratulating themselves on having done something useful and moving on to grapple with the next issue that’s equally outside the reach of their defective brains.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: To hear these vapid legislators whining...

And by the way: your average child porn consumer online is far, FAR smarter than any of your elected representatives, your police, your FBI, etc. They’ve got better computer systems, better computer skills, better software, and (for the most part) the discipline to use them.

When they get caught — and they do — it’s usually just a happy accident. Of course those who catch them beat their chests and claim victory, but this is laughable: it’s a minor win in a skirmish of no importance, not a major achievement in a battle of strategic significance.

This is not to say that that these people (child porn types) are commendable: they’re filth, of course. But it is to say that they will simply note this legislation’s passage, engineer around it within days (if not hours) and keep right on doing what they do. And as usual, only those who are sloppy or caresless will be apprehended — because all that the idiots in law enforcement can reach is the low-hanging fruit. They are hopelessly outclassed by the rest.

Scote (profile) says:

A permanent crime scene?

“”Every piece of prematurely discarded information could be the footprint of a child predator…. This bill ensures that the online footprints of predators are not erased.” “

Great, so she wants the entire internet–and everyone’s account details and history–to be treated as a permanent crime scene.

Well, heck, why not make re-formatting your hard drive a federal crime? And taking out your garbage. And…well, just think of the children… 😮

Paul (profile) says:

Re: Re: A permanent crime scene?

“Lamar Smith is a he, not she”

Are you sure? Do you have proof? Maybe if we didn’t destroy critical Internet communications as a matter of course, we might be able to settle this burning issue.

Until we have the bodyScan/CellPhonePicture/ChildhoodBathShots/DetailedAccountsFromPreviousGirlFriends(Or BoyFriends) I don’t think we can close this question.

One more reason the People of the U.S. need this act, and need it now!

Anonymous Coward says:

Great idea

I think it is great. Pass the law, wait a year, and have anonymous hack the ISPs used by right wing congress members. Release their web history about 3 months before the election. Rinse and repeat every couple of years. Liberal dem looks at porn, so what, but a right wing ultra conservative repub with a porn web history, that’s news.

Should be LOTS of fun.

Anonymous Coward says:

$500 Million

Speaking of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) of 1994… back then Congress helped out the Telco’s with cash to modify their equipment

From ?The Implementation of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act?, Audit Report 06-13, March 2006, Office of the Inspector General :

CALEA Implementation Costs

To facilitate CALEA implementation, Congress authorized the appropriation of $500 million to reimburse carriers for the direct costs of modifying systems installed or deployed on or before January 1, 1995.

So, how much money is Congress going to pass out this time? How much money are the ISPs going to demand to upgrade their data retention facilities?

jakerome (profile) says:

The "If you don't have anything to hide, you don't have anything to worry about Act of 2011"

Or IYD HATHY DHATWA- 2011. Or come up w/ your own acronym.


The internet is used primarily by child pornographers, drug counterfeiters & music pirates,
Whereas upstanding citizens are happy to have their lives intruded upon,
Whereas the most upstanding of these citizens are our congressional representatives,
It is the will of the Congress that the following law be enacted.

Pursuant to federal regulations pertaining to the retention of internet browsing histories for all computers, smartphones, tablets & other devices accessing the network via Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”), and pursuant to this body’s stated goals of ensuring maximum transparency in the dealings of Congress, and pursuant to demonstrating the forthright ways in which Congress conducts itself, the following new rule shall be put into place.

For any & all communications stored in accordance with “The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011” that pertain to the actions of any sitting member of Congress, these records may be accessed, examined and shared by any citizen of that member’s district. Forthwith, this includes necessarily all internet logs from any computer or smartphone in the congress person’s office in Washington or home district. This shall further include any personal device owned by the congress critter and used to conduct official business of the congress, including but not limited to voting, researching on bills, conducting fundraising or lobbying activities. This bill extends the authority to any computer, phone or tablet that the Congress critter borrows to do the same, which may include (but not be limited to) computers of spouses, children, other close family members and friends of one sort or another. To facilitate enforcement of this law, all congress critters will be required to submit a daily report identifying which computers they have used to access the internet for official business. This law will take effect on the same day as The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 and will be automatically repealed when that legislation is found to be constitutionally lacking or otherwise repealed.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Every piece of prematurely discarded information could be the footprint of a child predator…. This bill ensures that the online footprints of predators are not erased.”

Also, every time you mow your yard or sweep the sidewalk you could be erasing literal footprints of child predators. As well as every time the tide comes in, or when the wind blows across a dusty hill…

The obvious solution is to eliminate all children… for their own safety.

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