Bill is an invasion of privacy

Republican Congressman Lamar S. Smith has rallied his party around a bill that makes the online activity of every American available to police and attorneys upon request.

Smith introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act to the U.S. House of Representatives some time in October 2011.

If this bill is passed, internet service providers will be forced to retain customer names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and other information that would normally be kept private and secure, so identities cannot be stolen.

The act is supposed to have a minimal cost to the government, leaving Internet service providers to pay over $200 million in costs and other fees.

The Protecting Children from Online Pornographers Act of 2011 sounds like a reasonable idea, does it not?

Protecting the children is usually a big priority among Americans.

The biggest problem is that this bill has nothing to do with pornography or the protection of children.

When lawmakers want to get something done without anyone paying too much attention, a useful tactic is to convince the public that it is for the good of the children.

Children, as science has proven, have little or no sense. If there is to be any hope of their survival to adulthood, they must be led by the nose through every decision they make by adults who know better than they do.

Failure in this regard leads to unplanned teenage pregnancy, socialism and Bronies. These are facts.

This is why labeling a potential law as an attempt to “protect the children” is useful.

Part of the reasoning behind this bill is that there have supposedly been investigations in pursuit of pedophiles that have come up short because ISPs are not required to retain this private information.

Smith and his cohorts seem to think they have found a solution to this problem by requiring that ISPs keep this information on hand, just in case their government needs to take a peek into a citizen’s private life.

Many will recall the Stop Online Piracy Act, also known as SOPA and the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, more commonly known as PIPA.

In a surprisingly effective show of force, more than 10,000 websites “went dark,” ceasing all services for all of Jan. 18.

Support from the Republican politicians who had been pushing these bills dropped drastically.

Eighteen senators, nearly half of whom had been co-sponsors of the bill, backed away from the bill.

SOPA and PIPA have since been shelved indefinitely.

The internet is still relatively untamed by the world’s governments, and yet no great disasters have been sustained due to internet freedom.

The government is not supposed to open our mail. The government is not supposed listen in on our phone calls. The government should not be allowed to read our email or track our internet history.

Even if this bill did what its name indicates, there are two things citizens should remember.

Pornography is legal and it is legal to sell pornographic content to consenting adults aged 18 years or older.

With that in mind, children are not being targeted by pornographers.

They are not Big Tobacco. They are not black tar heroin. Pornographers are not after the children; they already have you.

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