Democratic Rep. John Mizuno of Oahu introduced what amounts to an asinine bill requiring Internet Service Providers (ISP) to save for two years the Domain addresses and Internet Protocol addresses of “everyone” in the State of Hawai’i. Creating a virtual dossier on every resident in the State that uses the internet. In other words, the government tracking everywhere you go on the Internet.
Under the guise of “privacy protection”, H.B. 2288, this unnecessary regulation could lead to gross violations of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizures. The bill does not contain any privacy protections to restrict what ISP providers can do with the information they gather. They can sell the information to advertisers and the legislation doesn’t prevent law enforcement from getting a warrant before obtaining the data. This is a clear violation of Fourth Amendment protections and privacy protections.
This isn’t the only attempt by law makers to place restrictions on the Internet. Recent legislation in Congress to restrict freedom of speech was stopped after a huge public outcry. The Legislation known as SOPA (Stop Online Pirating Act) was pulled after it was learned that the bill would amount to nothing more than internet censorship. The bill was intended to stop copyright infringements and to protect Intellectual Property (IP) from being stolen, but the broadness of the legislation went beyond just protecting copyrighted material on the internet. It went further to requiring ISP providers to monitor customer internet traffic. Effectively spying on where ever you went on the internet.
The implications into heavy-handed government restrictions meant certain websites could be shutdown by just the suspicion, or accusation by anyone claiming internet piracy. Just the suspicion of copyright infringement would require the ISP provider to use deep packet inspection to block web sites using IP (Internet Protocol) Blocking. It would force the ISP providers to intercept and analyze customers’ Web traffic. The question is, do we want the Web providers policing the internet?
That’s not to say there isn’t piracy on the internet. Off Shore piracy by countries like China are openly stealing Intellectual Property such as Hollywood movies and Software programs. I was in Malaysia recently and saw this first hand. There are stores that sell copied software and movies onto CDROM’s and sold outright in large Malls and shopping centers. When the police arrive at these stores, the pirate vendors, simply move the racks of pirated items out of view until the police leave. Then it’s business as usual. Most software vendors encrypt their products with an encoded key to prevent illegal pirating.
But from a larger point of view, why should broadly worded laws be enacted that restricts those that wish to keep their Intellectual Property open and free to the public domain? Why do we want to add a layer of bureaucracy onto the cost of already expensive internet services? Why do we allow legislators to write lousy laws that result in restrictions in Free Speech and Free Access to the World Wide Web?
Speaking of poorly written laws, Obama signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which is an international treaty agreement that permits foreign countries and companies to demand Web providers to remove Web content in the United States without legal review. The Treaty has not been ratified by the Congress. However, that hasn’t stopped the Marxist in Chief from stepping around Congress. In what was a blatantly illegal move, Obama declared the Treaty an “executive agreement” and thereby bypassing Congressional approval. This law is worse than SOPA and its partner law PIPA. The scope and broadness would effectively stifle free speech on the web. For example, suppose a website reported on the intolerance of certain a nations’ political or religious discrimination, it could be blocked from publishing that content. That’s exactly what happened to “Bare Naked Islam” on blog hosting website WordPress, the host of this blog. When the organization known as CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), an organization with ties to Islamic Terrorist groups, accused the website of spreading hate speech, WordPress then shut them down citing a violation of terms of service. Granted this decision by WordPress to silence “Bare Naked Islam” wasn’t related to any existing legislation, but it represents a pattern of political correctness that internet providers, hosting sites and users are facing in the wake of attacks on Freedom of Speech. The ISP providers see this coming and are preparing for the worse.
That is the real problem with rotton legislation like the one being proposed in the Hawai’I legislature. As in Hawai’i, there seems to be a lack of “Checks and Balances” with legislation written by all government entities. This seems to be a systemic problem with all levels of government, from Congress, to State and local entities. It’s not just either a Democrat or Republican problem. SOPA’s data retention proposal was written and sponsored by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas). Rep. John Mizuno’s legislation takes data retention to a whole new level of privacy intrusion. Besides not being well thought-out, the consequences of how such legislation would not only hurt free speech, but it would severely damage commerce on the Internet. This is not what the Founders had in mind when they designed the Republic.
Voter apathy must end if we are ever to see an end to this creeping socialism! The voting public needs to be more involved in the legislative process at all levels; from the PTA to Presidential elections, to electing the Dog catcher. The public should demand greater accountability from those in our employ. We are taxpayers, and they are elected by “us’, the taxpayers! They are paid by “us”, the taxpayers.
We should get our money’s worth, don’tcha think? When voters do get involved, this is what happens. Read Here!
What’s For Dinner?
Grilled Ono Filets with Saute’ Vegetables over Rice and Home made Cheese Bread