Thursday, December 06, 2007

The SAFE Act, or Why We Should Have Elected Pete Ashdown

According to CNET, the House passed a bill saying that anyone offering an open wireless connection must report illegal images - including "obscene" cartoons and drawings, with fines of up to $300,000.

Apparently, it was rushed through, and passed 409 to 2. It's reported to have been modified substantially from the original legislation, and is not available for public review. It's never had a hearing or a committee vote.

According to the CNET article:
This is what the SAFE Act requires: Anyone providing an "electronic communication service" or "remote computing service" to the public who learns about the transmission or storage of information about certain illegal activities or an illegal image must (a) register their name, mailing address, phone number, and fax number with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's "CyberTipline" and (b) "make a report" to the CyberTipline that (c) must include any information about the person or Internet address behind the suspect activity and (d) the illegal images themselves.

Hello? They're already required to report child porn. So, why the sneaky, rushed passing of this bill?

I'm as against the exploitation of children as anyone else. Personally, I wish they'd castrate offenders. And then maybe put them in front of a firing squad. Or send them to Gitmo.

But, the people that just rushed this through have no clue what this means to the businesses, and apparently don't care about the privacy implications. They jumped on it because they want to protect children, but they don't know what they're doing. They didn't examine it to see if it would actually do anything to protect children.

Of course, Pete Ashdown was running for Senate, and we have yet to see how the Senate will handle this. But, if the Senate does the same thing the House did, it's rather scary. If Pete was in office, he'd have the knowledge to stand up and make sure the bill gets examined before becoming law. Can you imagine Hatch's reaction? Maybe he'd have to add an amendment that says when the images are found, a device is transmitted via the airwaves and downloaded onto the person's hard drive, and then assembled via nanobots to then reach out of the computer and slap the offender. Or something equally as stupid.

Normally, I think that age and wisdom can be valuable assets in our lawmakers. But, if they are going to be reactionary in making laws about something they don't understand I think that they are not wise, but simply old.

1 comment:

  1. Jeremiah18:08

    What about home users that buy a wireless access point, turn it on, and connect? Are they liable?

    I used to install wireless networks in churches and we used software to determine the wireless signals around the church. I can't tell you how many open networks I found from nearby homes and apartments. This just seems unreasonable.


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