The internet can be a dangerous place in the hands of people who wish to do no good but does that mean everyone is to be monitored? In May of 2011 a bill was introduced to amend title 18, United States Code, with respect to child pornography and child exploitation offenses. On the surface, this bill sounds as if it addresses a problem concerning the exploitation of children but it goes much further and opens the door to a number of privacy and security concerns.
The Gate Keeper
In essence, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is tasked to maintain eighteen months of your network address. Congress even goes on to say that, records should be stored securely to protect customer privacy and prevent data breaches of this data.
Now I can only imagine that an ISP will be entrusted to secure this data and if the recent security breaches from Sony, AT&T, and many others that have fell victim to hackers this year is any indication then my confidence level is not high. In fact, I do not believe that any ISP will do what it takes and why should they? In reality all Congress is doing here is enacting further regulation that will drive up the cost of internet access and I am sure we all agree that we are paying too much now.
As well intended as this bill may be the real problem is that maintaining eighteen months of a person’s data and trying to find the person or persons exploiting children is like looking into a black hole. Not to mention the fact that as a law-abiding citizen law enforcement visits an ISP and pulls all this data in the course of an investigation. While most people never perform illegal activities, I must ask is anyone comfortable with any agency looking at the last eighteen months of your personal internet use.
It is clear that child exploitation is a problem and it must be addressed but what disturbs me is the fact that most members of Congress do not fully understand technology. In no way would I ever trust any ISP to properly secure my personal details. How could I when it was just a couple years ago that Veterans Affairs suffered a data break when an employee either lost or had stolen a laptop. The one thing that government is consistent with is not fully understanding the problem and solution. Casting a wide net simply will cause more problems than it solves.
What say you?
- Bill Summary & Status – 112th Congress (2011-2012) – H.R. 1981
- 2011 Set to Be Worst Year Ever for Security Breaches