Lamar Smith: Enemy Of The Internet? Defends Internet Snooping Bill
from the stop-smith dept
Before the SOPA mess heated up last year, we were just as worried about Rep. Lamar Smith’s other ridiculous bill, in which he sought to hide massive data retention rules — effectively requiring every online service provider to keep reams of data about users… and hid it all under a totally bogus claim that it was to “protect children from internet pornographers.” This is the most cynical and obnoxious form of lawmaking: to pass something that is incredibly bad and dangerous and pretend that you’re doing so to “protect the children from child porn” when the actual bill will do nothing of the sort. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who saw through Smith’s ruse (as she did with SOPA as well), actually offered up an amendment to more accurately call the bill the “Keep Every American’s Digital Data for Submission to the Federal Government Without a Warrant Act of 2011,” but that got rejected.
Unfortunately, the bill, HR 1981, has already been voted out of committee (something that was successfully stopped with SOPA), so it could come to the floor at any time. As he did with SOPA opposition, Smith’s staff is dismissing the online criticism of the bill, insisting is not as big as people are making it out to be… and that the complaints about the bill are not accurate. Yet, Demand Progress says that it has already received over 90,000 signatures against the bill, and lots of others are speaking out against it. Just as with SOPA, the opposition to such a bad bill does not fall along traditional political lines. You’ve got DailyKos on the left speaking out against it as well as patriot groups and Ron Paul supporters. And, of course, Reddit has been active as well.
In many ways this bill is significantly worse than SOPA, in that it not only creates a massive new problem for all internet companies, in that they would need to retain all sorts of data, but that it tries to hide it behind a claim that this is for protection against child porn — something no politician wants to vote against. The costs of maintaining all this info can be quite large, but more importantly, this is the exact opposite of a privacy bill. It’s an anti-privacy bill, because the more data that a company has to collect and retain, the more likely it is to leak or be accessed by someone who shouldn’t have it (including the government — which was the point of Lofgren’s attempted renaming). Furthermore, the bill does absolutely nothing about the problem it actually claims to be targeting. Nothing in the bill would actually slow or stop child pornographers. The whole name is a red herring to try to get the bill through.
Between this and SOPA, it seems that people should start asking: is Lamar Smith the most anti-internet elected official in the US right now? He’s got to be up there if he’s not at the top.