...Thanks go out to That's My Congress! for pointing this one out...
This may be a shock, but it turns out that not all Republicans are supporters of the ideal of smaller government.
Well, under specific circumstances, anyway.
Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Lamar Smith, both representing Texas, have each introduced identical bills to end and criminalize anonymous use of the internet.
Under the guise of fighting child pornography, Cornyn introduced S.436 and Smith introduced H.R.1076, the "Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today's Youth (SAFETY) Act of 2009."
Most of the Act does, in fact, address child porn and exploitation of minors.
However, both bills have the same overreaching section.
SEC. 5. RETENTION OF RECORDS BY ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION SERVICE PROVIDERS.
Section 2703 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
`(h) Retention of Certain Records and Information- A provider of an electronic communication service or remote computing service shall retain for a period of at least two years all records or other information pertaining to the identity of a user of a temporarily assigned network address the service assigns to that user.'.
And as Declan McCullagh, chief political correspondent for CNET points out -
The legal definition of electronic communication service is "any service which provides to users thereof the ability to send or receive wire or electronic communications." The U.S. Justice Department's position is that any service "that provides others with means of communicating electronically" qualifies.
That sweeps in not just public Wi-Fi access points, but password-protected ones too, and applies to individuals, small businesses, large corporations, libraries, schools, universities, and even government agencies. Voice over IP services may be covered too.
At a press conference touting the bills, Cornyn said (quoted in the CNET article) -
"While the Internet has generated many positive changes in the way we communicate and do business, its limitless nature offers anonymity that has opened the door to criminals looking to harm innocent children."
If all Cornyn and Smith were interested in was restricting child porn, there would be specific safeguards in the bill's language to limit the availability of records retained under section 5 to child porn investigations.
No such provisions exist in the bills.
This is a rather hypocritical "pro-Big Brother/Big Government" turn from two Republicans who joined all but three D.C. Republicans in voting against the economic stimulus that was passed to try to aid the average American during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
You know, the economic stimulus package that has provisions to help kids with their educations...oh wait...that's "helping," not "restricting."
I understand now.
Another take on this from CrooksandLiars.com here.