Monday, February 23, 2009

Bigger, more intrusive government

By Capt. Fogg

"The makers of the Constitution conferred the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by all civilized men — the right to be let alone."

- Justice Louis Brandeis -

Whenever there's a lot of outrage being sold, whether it's about protecting children, preventing tax shelters or defending the faith, it's fairly safe to assume they're selling something else and it's safer to assume it's something you wouldn't have bought otherwise.

There are few things easier to bundle with invasive, intrusive or even abusive government than protecting children, hence the carefully maintained impression that children are in vastly more danger then ever before and controlling the internet in the cause of controlling people and their unwanted thoughts and words attaches to our parental fears like a remora to a shark.

A free internet

offers anonymity that has opened the door to criminals looking to harm innocent children,

says U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican. Well, of course! So does freedom of association and freedom of speech and assembly and, of course, so does freedom in general. It also offers opportunities for dissent, for exposure of secrets of invidious nature and other things authoritarian and paranoid governments fear. So in order to protect the children, Cornyn would like to make sure that with every word you write, every breath you take, every move you make, he'll be watching you. listening to your calls, reading your mail, checking your financial records, tracking your movements: all these things we bought in the name of Bush's "warrontare" and yet it's not enough.

The plan is to have everything you say on the internet and a list of every search you make and every site you visit stored for the benefit of anyone who may want to investigate you -- for two years. Two bills have been introduced so far--S.436 in the Senate and H.R.1076 in the House. Both bills bear the same title: "Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today's Youth Act," or Internet Safety Act. Both use the same words:

A provider of an electronic communication service or remote computing service shall retain for a period of at least two years all records or other information pertaining to the identity of a user of a temporarily assigned network address the service assigns to that user.

And what is a provider or remote service? If you're got a home network with a wired or wireless router, you are! Better buy another hard drive and keep it backed up, you potential child molester, you.

That sweeps in not just public Wi-Fi access points, but password-protected ones too, and applies to individuals, small businesses, large corporations, libraries, schools, universities, and even government agencies. Voice over IP services may be covered too.

says's Declan McCullagh.

Alberto Gonzales may be gone, George Bush may be a bad memory, but the Republican Dream lives on. A country where nothing you do is private and nothing they do is public; a country where "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" is seen as an unnecessary impediment to control.

(Cross-posted from
Human Voices.)

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  • Great post, Capt. Fogg, and very timely. Thanks for the heads up.

    By Blogger Carol Gee, at 6:36 AM  

  • Than you. I don't expect these bills to pass and if they should, I don't expect the Supreme Court to let it out of it's cage, but as an example of the depravity of the Republicans, it's frightening and disgusting.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 10:08 AM  

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