GOP Wants Your ISP to Spy on You
Remember, once a state gives itself "emergency powers", it never gives them up. History bears this out. With that in mind, do you really want strangers looking over your shoulder while you work and play online, all in the name of nebulous "security"?
All Internet service providers would need to track their customers' online activities to aid police in future investigations under legislation introduced Tuesday as part of a Republican "law and order agenda."
Employees of any Internet provider who fail to store that information face fines and prison terms of up to one year, the bill says. The U.S. Justice Department could order the companies to store those records forever.
Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, called it a necessary anti-cybercrime measure. "The legislation introduced today will give law enforcement the tools it needs to find and prosecute criminals," he said in a statement.
A second requirement, also embedded in Smith's so-dubbed Safety Act (PDF), requires owners of sexually explicit Web sites to post warning labels on their pages or face imprisonment. This echoes, nearly word for word, a proposal from last year that was approved by a Senate committee but never made it to a floor vote.
Even though both requirements are central to a Republican-led effort, neither data retention nor Web labeling are that partisan. A Senate committee approved a telecommunications bill that included Web labeling by a 15-7 vote in June. And Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, has been the most vocal proponent of data retention in the entire Congress.