Thursday, December 06, 2007

You must be kidding

CNET News reported The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill saying that anyone offering an open Wi-Fi connection to the public must report illegal images including "obscene" cartoons and drawings--or face fines of up to $300,000.
I am glad they are doing something, but this is over broad. A library, coffee shop, etc providing free wifi can't monitor all of the images served up by the service, and call the cops when obscene cartoons or drawings are served up.
That broad definition would cover individuals, coffee shops, libraries, hotels, and even some government agencies that provide Wi-Fi. It also sweeps in social-networking sites, domain name registrars, Internet service providers, and e-mail service providers such as Hotmail and Gmail, and it may require that the complete contents of the user's account be retained for subsequent police inspection.

Redstate blogged The House just overwhelmingly passed the "Securing adolescents from online exploitation act," a stupid and obnoxious piece of lunacy.... This bill would require people with a wireless site to catalog all the people who use their site, and report anything anyone might call a lascivious site using photos of young people.

First off, it's an unfunded mandate, second, no hard drives exist big enough to do this, third, it is illegal for private citizens to spy on one another, and if the images are kept then the person with the wireless service is violating the law.
forth, you cannot get landlords to search the rooms of their renters as a roundabout way to violate the constitution, this is the same thing.

But only two members of congress voted against it. Ron Paul of course (he votes against everything), and Paul Broun, whom I assume is the only one who actually read the bill.

What a cheap way to pretend you care about children: Pass a blatantly unconstitutional piece of crap, force some poor businessmen to defend themselves in court, watch the bill get thrown out, and the public picks up the tab.

Is it any wonder the public is cynical and holds the government in utter contempt?

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