Lamar Smith Doesn’t Care About Personal Privacy on the Internet

    February 29, 2012

While SOPA is holding on to its dying breaths for dear life, Lamar Smith has apparently moved on to bigger and better things: Monitoring every aspect of your online behavior, details which would be available to any government agency without a warrant, all in the name of “protecting children” from the evils of adults, or something.

Actually, Smith’s new draconian approach to Internet activity is nestled in his latest sponsored bill, H.R.1981, aka, the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011. While the notion is a noble one–let’s be clear here, no one I know is advocating for child porn purveyors to be protected–it’s also a great method of subterfuge, because no one wants to hurt children, right? And if you add such an invasion of privacy to a bill, the overwhelming desire to protect children will prevent other politicians from voting against it.

Or something like that.

But, does protecting children mean massive invasions of Internet privacy should be tolerated, if not made to be outright legal? If Lamar Smith gets his way, then yes, yes it does. As pointed out by Boing Boing, over at, Leslie Meredith points out some of the ridiculous details of Smith’s next move, one that is again hidden behind a “protect the children” mantra:

The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 would require Internet providers to store the IP addresses they assign to a customer’s Internet-connected devices along with identifying information like the customer’s name, address and the credit card numbers… [IP addresses] can provide a pretty clear picture of your routine over time. People are creatures of habit. You probably check your email when you get up. You check it several times at work and again when you get home in the evening. With knowledge of your personal trail of IP addresses, it’s not too hard to decipher your daily activities.

However, under Smith’s bill, records of both suspects and ordinary citizens would all be available to any government agency at any time, no warrant required. [Emphasis added]

That’s right, Lamar Smith wants the Internet activity of every American stored, courtesy of IP addresses. Furthermore, he wants this information to be available to any agency that wants to access it, again, all in the name of protecting children.

If this doesn’t sound like an end-around move to stick SOPA-like attributes to a Child Protection bill, perhaps I need to refresh my memory about such circumvention attempts. Not only does Smith’s bill include these Orwellian Internet regulation qualities, they’re actually worse than what was in the Stop Online Piracy Act. At least in SOPA, Smith never said he wanted every American’s Internet activity monitored and stored for later use.

But hey, it’s for the kids so it has to be good for the population, right? That’s clearly the approach Smith is going for