Child pornography is sick and those who engage in creating it should be taken out of society for the harm they do to the children they make victims of in producing it. Most everyone who feels protective of children agrees with this, which is why we have laws in place regarding this.
It’s also true that the Internet has become an integral part of human daily life and our commerce and socializing are now heavily dependent on this means of nearly instant communication. Telephone companies are even switching over to Internet voice transmission.
Two new federal proposals that Republican supporters claim will protect children have alarmed Internet companies, who say the measures could make it a crime to provide e-mail.
The bills, each named the Internet Safety Act say that broadband providers and Wi-Fi access points must keep records on users for two years. Another section of the legislation, numbered 1960B, says anyone employed at a provider who “knowingly engages in any conduct the provider knows or has reason to believe facilitates access to, or the possession of, child pornography” will be fined and imprisoned for not more than 10 years.”
The mere provision of e-mail, electronic storage, and social-networking sites could be viewed as an act that “facilitates access to” illegal content, especially if the provider knows that some users in the past have been less than law-abiding. Considering that there’s always a percentage of people who use the Internet for unlawful purposes, virtually all ISP’s will be put at risk if this legislation passes of having their owners and employees packed off to prison simply for providing the service.
Big Brotherism is on a roll with the newly empowered Liberal Left, and the pair of Texas Republicans who announced the proposal at a press conference on Thursday, Rep. Lamar Smith, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, and Sen. John Cornyn, are clearly trying to take advantage of it. Most likely, to give them the benefit of the doubt, these two are simply not computer savvy and have no idea what a law like this would do.
Keeping the records for 2 years is one thing. We all use the Internet at the risk of our privacy and I think we all know that. Making the providers of this service responsible for the behavior of its users, however, means exactly the same as having to imprison bar owners every time one of their inebriated patrons commits a crime,
and that’s just over the line.