Red Ice Membership

More Nanny State Attacks on Internet Freedom
2006 05 02

By Kurt Nimmo |

Last week, I wrote about the effort by Congress to kill internet neutrality and hand the medium over the massive corporations and relegate those of us not willing to pay big bucks to the slow lane. Now comes word of Congress critter Diana DeGette’s proposal to force ISPs to “retain records of their users’ activities,” an idea supported by AG Alberto Gonzales. “Last week, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a Republican, gave a speech saying that data retention by Internet service providers is an ‘issue that must be addressed.’ Child pornography investigations have been ‘hampered’ because data may be routinely deleted, Gonzales warned,” reports Declan McCullagh of CNET News.

DeGette’s “proposal says that any Internet service that ‘enables users to access content’ must permanently retain records that would permit police to identify each user. The records could not be discarded until at least one year after the user’s account was closed…. An expansive reading of DeGette’s measure would require every Web site to retain those records.”

If passed, DeGette’s nanny state proposal would jack the cost of running a website or blog through the ceiling. Not only is the hardware and software required to retain data expensive, it also gives excessive power to the state. DeGette may indeed be concerned about child pornography. But Gonzales and the Bushites are less concerned about child pornography and pedophiles than keeping tabs on their political enemies.

It may be time to use a virtual private network or an anonymizer proxy, the latter designed to cloak the internet address of the user through standard ecommerce cryptography. Of course, this will be of little use if the feds start grabbing log files from ISPs, but it will foil standard traffic analysis, that is to say the current effort of the NSA to snoop all email and web destinations (with the help of data-mining equipment installed in secret rooms at AT&T switching centers).

It is completely beside the point that I don’t surf child porn and all of my web destinations are entirely legal—news sites (albeit mostly “subversive” alternative news and opinion sites) and sites related to my profession as a web designer. It’s about the Fourth Amendment (”the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated”). But then, according to our “decider” dictator, the Constitution is little more than a “god damn piece of paper,” so the Bill of Rights is effectually dead in the water, as AG Gonzales demonstrated once again last week.

Last year, our globalist rulers attempted to force through a data retention law in Europe, and then it was discovered the Justice Department was also interested in such a proposal here in America. “One U.S. industry representative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Justice Department is interested in at least a two-month requirement,” McCullagh wrote on June 16, 2005. “Justice Department officials endorsed the concept at a private meeting with Internet service providers and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to interviews with multiple people who were present. The meeting took place on April 27 at the Holiday Inn Select in Alexandria, Va.” Dave McClure, president of the U.S. Internet Industry Association, was told by representatives of the nanny state (apparently including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children): “You’re going to have to start thinking about data retention if you don’t want people to think you’re soft on child porn.”

In short, if you don’t let the nanny state run your business and violate your rights under the Fourth Amendment, you’re a child porn enabler, sort of like those of us who defend the Constitution and Bill of Rights and oppose the criminal occupation of Iraq are terrorists.

“Even if your concern is chasing after child pornographers, the packets don’t come pre-labeled that way,” Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told CNET News. “What effectively happens is that all ISP customers, when that data is presented to the government, become potential targets of subsequent investigations.” In Britain, this process is well along, thanks to the Anti-Terrorism, Crime & Security Act 2001 (simply known as the “Act”), although the retention of data by ISPs is now “voluntary” (the Secretary of State for the Home Office has the ability to make this practice compulsory).

All of this will cost us a pile of money and will eventually make simply having an internet account, website or blog hosting service prohibitively expensive. McCullagh notes that “many Internet service providers don’t record information about instant-messaging conversations or Web sites visited.” Adding the appropriate technology will cost a fortune and that cost will be passed on to us.

If Diana DeGette’s proposal becomes law, and ISPs are forced to install the appropriate technology and hire staff to provide data to the capricious whims of a politically motivated state using child pornography as an excuse to violate constitutional rights (as the so-called “drug war” and now the “war against terrorism” are used to violate rights), look forward to millions of people falling off the internet, especially those of us already pushed toward the economic edge, thanks to the deliberate and systematic destruction of the economy by our leaders and their bankster neolib handlers.

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