SOPA author back and worse than ever

Another day, another threat to internet freedom. According to International Business Times, beloved Texas Representative Lamar Smith is the author of a new bill that includes extreme surveillance provisions, and a name that will make opponents sound like criminals: H.R. 1981 (bump that last digit up three times for a more fitting title), or the 'Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011.'

The new name has outraged many opponents of SOPA and other bills that could bring more government control to the internet, like PIPA and ACTA. It's hard to imagine the whole world turning out against a bill with the words 'protect' and 'children' in the title, regardless of the actual contents of the bill.

In the words of Business Insider's David Seaman, it's “just a B.S. name so that politicians in the House and Senate are strong-armed into voting for it, even though it contains utterly insane 1984-style Big Brother surveillance provisions.” Ouch.

So, what's so dangerous about the bill? If it's really designed to protect innocent children from pedophiles, why should anyone (other than pedophiles, of course) be worried about it? As David Seaman pointed out, H.R. 1981 contains some very hefty surveillance provisions, including one which would require ISPs to keep track of the IP addresses it assigns to its users, and to record that information for at least 18 months. Other information like credit card data and who knows what else would also be stored.

Adding insult to injury, the bill describes its target – in reality the entire internet – as 'unregistered sex offenders.' Once again, ouch. The scary part is that the bill could lead to monitoring of all internet activity, so that a subpoena can be issued for further investigation of the suspicious activity.

For those of us who aren't worried about the government keeping track of our hopefully innocent browsing habits, there is the whole issue of your very private and very sensitive information being stored for years. The bill would leave such storage in the hands of ISPs, although it does urge that 'such records... be stored securely to protect customer privacy and prevent breaches of records.' Presumably, this means that they would be kept in plain text files.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been doing what it can to raise a fuss about the bill, pointing out that the data collected it the bill could be used not only to investigate possible pedophiles, but that it could also 'become available to civil litigants... whether it's the RIAA trying to identify downloaders, a company trying to uncover and retaliate against an anonymous critic, or a divorce lawyer looking for dirty laundry.' It's also started a letter writing campaign, much as it did with SOPA and PIPA.

Unsurprisingly, Anonymous has also been quite vocal voicing its distaste for the bill. Various representatives of the group who cannot be verified since they are, well, anonymous, have taken to Twitter to raise awareness of the bill. They've also joined in on a campaign to '#UnseatLamar,' urging voters to remove him from office in the upcoming election.

It seems like it's every week now that a new piece of legislation comes up somewhere in the world, threatening the collective internet with fire, brimstone and eternal damnation. For such a massive and disorderly group, netizens have actually done a surprisingly good job at combating the bills.

When the internet is threatened, it seems that everyone from the masked hacker to the founders of reputable websites are willing to stand side by side at its defense. It's enough to bring tears to our eyes. Hopefully a heavy handed title won't be enough to keep this from happening again, because H.R. 1981 truly is, as WebProNews has said, a giant turd wrapped in cotton candy.

Image courtesy of Quickmeme

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CMG_90 said,
Hes from Texas. Same state of bush.... That explains it...

+100500 this state should form it's own government and keep these people to themselves.

Kirkburn said,
Let's not insult the entire population of Texas based on a few fools?

The Bush dynasty is epic greatness. I only wish that Daddy Bush had a second term and that GW could of had a third and that Jeb Bush would have run.... God praise the Bush Family

Deniss said,

+100500 this state should form it's own government and keep these people to themselves.
What do you think our chances are of annexing Texas?

satukoro said,
What do you think our chances are of annexing Texas?
Bit confused ... who is 'our' in that sentence? Texas is already part of the US, so how would you annex it?

Kirkburn said,
Bit confused ... who is 'our' in that sentence? Texas is already part of the US, so how would you annex it?
Well that's embarrassing. I can't for the life of me think of the antonym of annex associated with the removal of states in US History.

satukoro said,
Well that's embarrassing. I can't for the life of me think of the antonym of annex associated with the removal of states in US History.

Secede, perhaps? Not sure whether that's what your shooting for or not.

Just a curious question to all of you out there: Have any of you actually read the bill?? I have and the only thing it requires is for ISPs to store the DHCP assigned addresses for 18 months. There is nothing in it that requires the storage of everything else you do on the internet. Also, the bill was introduced into the House on May 25, 2011, a full 5 months before SOPA was introduced into committee! Here is the full bill: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/...D?c112:1:./temp/~c112SEavH8:: . Also, before anyone says otherwise, no, this doesn't mean I support such a bill as this. I just think it's getting blown way too far out of proportion.

Why don't we have all politicians arrested and only have then released if they can prove they are not guilty of anything? You know "Unregistered-Potential-Criminals"

Governments always seek more control & regulation -- it makes the government's various jobs easier. Rather than deal with with all the ways web access might enable their citizens to be less cooperative, the gov shuts down the Internet in Iran. Rather than deal with what would be more outside condemnation & potentially interference, Syria blocks independent journalists. Being able to put a citizen's identity together with what they've said, where they've been, & what they've uploaded/downloaded etc. on-line makes law enforcement & potentially control easier, so there are always going to be gov officials that push the idea. The US gov knows this as well as anyone else, providing funding & assistance in getting around government restrictions RE: communications & information, to citizens in other countries for decades. The US gov also knows what everyone else knows -- if you present monitoring, control, &/or regulations as ways of protecting citizens, some percentage will go along with it, perhaps even ask that such measures be put in place.

SO yeah, another effort's popped up in the US Congress, perhaps spurred on a bit by the likes of the RIAA shoveling cash all over DC in an election year.

IMO pretending it's unexpected is about as silly as crying that these politicians: "Just Don't Get It". Of course they do. If Smith doesn't have any tech abilities himself [& I have no idea one way or another], he certainly has a well funded staff, & one or more of those people do -- those running for (re)election do have & use an on-line presence to at the least advertise & assist in fund raising. I mean does anyone think that organizations like the RIAA float all that cash on a whim, with no idea of what it'll buy? If lobbyists didn't get results, would it be an industry, let alone one that's so lucrative?

I'm NOT Saying the proposed legislation is any good or that it shouldn't be opposed -- just trying to inject a little pragmatism so [I hope] everyone's efforts are taken seriously, have more of an impact. Seaman's populist-sounding rant: "... just a B.S. name so that politicians in the House and Senate are strong-armed into voting for it ..." is just that, designed/written so he sounds cool. Yes, politicians can/will say their opponent didn't vote for whatever & try to use it against them, but how well did that work with SOPA/PIPA? Most in the US Congress ran from both once their content was publicized.

So Thanks Neowin for bringing this up, posting it on your front page. Hopefully *if* there's any more to it, anything more to cover, you'll follow the mold you used with SOPA/PIPA, with maybe a wee bit less histrionics that you used here today. It wasn't whining afterall that led to their defeat, but the fact that what seemed to be most Americans were opposed to SOPA/PIPA once they were told what each meant &/or contained.

"Various representatives of the group who cannot be verified since they are, well, anonymous,"

Best sentence ever...

Gee, was he talking to Canada's Stephen Harper or Vic Toews, who last week introduced Bill C-30 "Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act", to the Canadian House of Commons. To a rather ice cold public reception, I might add.

Talk about being original in naming the bill.

"H.R. 1981 (bump that last digit up three times for a more fitting title)."

Ahh, that gave me a good chuckle. This bill is completely ridiculous.. we might as well start wiping Big Brothers arse if this goes through.

Concerning Lamar Smith the title for your bill is disgusting and misrepresents what you are trying to force through who is to say a pedo doesn't just use a public IP address or run through proxy servers to upload and download their sick perversion. All this bill will achieve is gathering massive amounts of private information like bank account/credit card numbers, social security numbers, home addresses, and account passwords making it extremely easy to commit fraud. To those out there saying that this info would be under lock and key all I have to say is look at Sony Online Entertainment March 2011 and Mastercard 2010,2011,2012 also we must not forget February 2 2012 when in retaliation for the shutdown of Megaupload anonymous launched the largest DDS attack ever,

this has just confirmed my theory that peeple who LOOK as stupid as dumbya will really behave as stupid as dumbya, if not more so.

my gawd. he's even from texas. think maybe bush sr has too much to drink one night more than half a decade ago?

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