Free market, here’s your chance to do something good:
It represents “a data bank of every digital act by every American” that would “let us find out where every single American visited Web sites,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, who led Democratic opposition to the bill.
Lofgren said the data retention requirements are easily avoided because they only apply to “commercial” providers. Criminals would simply go to libraries or Starbucks coffeehouses and use the Web anonymously, she said, while law-abiding Americans would have their activities recorded.
To make it politically difficult to oppose, proponents of the data retention requirements dubbed the bill the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011, even though the mandatory logs would be accessible to police investigating any crime and perhaps attorneys litigating civil disputes in divorce, insurance fraud, and other cases as well.
“The bill is mislabeled,” said Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the panel. “This is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It’s creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes.”
Not just crimes but civil lawsuits? Do you want a divorce lawyer rifling through your web surfing? Subpoenas for web chats?
Supporters of the measure characterized it as something that would aid law enforcement in investigating Internet crimes. Not enacting it “would keep our law enforcement officials in the dark ages,” said its primary sponsor, House Judiciary chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
Just think how much escapes them because we don’t have listening devices in our homes. It’s interesting how every technological advance in invading the privacy of citizens must be enacted, lest we be accused of passively letting people do bad things.
Here’s how the free market has been working: Unlimited bribery of public officials is free speech. But your actual private speech on the Internet must be regulated, recorded, and reprimanded.