It’s about protecting, uh, hmm, the CHILDREN!

If you own a WIFI spot that is accessible and free, or own a business that provides such a service, life just got a wee bit more complicated… Seems that Congress passed (409 to 2) the SAFE Act – Securing Adolescents From Exploitation Online Act. While everyone (well, most) people are against Terrorism and Child Porn, this sweeping bill pits the operators of services such as WiFi and social networks against it’s users and leaves the onus on the operator.

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.

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.

Blogs were excluded from this version of the Act, though a previous bill required the same activities from blogs. And, if you’re operating said service and do discover such material, your requirements are as follows.

Anyone providing an “electronic communication service” or “remote computing service” to the public who learns about the transmission or storage of information about certain illegal activities or an illegal image must (a) register their name, mailing address, phone number, and fax number with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s “CyberTipline” and (b) “make a report” to the CyberTipline that (c) must include any information about the person or Internet address behind the suspect activity and (d) the illegal images themselves.

Wait, what? Common police investigative practice is to suspect the person who reports the crime. Does anyone see some potential problems with said reporting procedure?

  1. Improbus says:

    Have they made it illegal to use encryption and SSH yet? If not then this would only affect those that do not have the technical ability to protect themselves.

  2. rasco says:

    Kiss free access goodbye.

    Improbus, just wait, soon encryption and SSH will be dead also.

  3. adam says:

    But what about public hotspots that require WEP or WPA? And how are the places supposed to monitor? Are we going to see packet sniffers installed in all these places now?


  4. Balbas says:

    It’s only for non-WEP and -WPA sites.

    Don’t worry, though. It won’t pass muster with the courts. China yes, but not US courts.

    As my mom, a card-carrying Republican noted when I showed her this, “It’s the end of the year. They always do things to attract attention.”

  5. John Paradox says:

    just to look, went to their and discovered their Certificate is invalid when you click to ‘report’. Plus, first thing they ask is for the person reporting’s name,address, etc.

    By contrast, the local law enforcement has an ANONYMOUS tip line.


  6. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #4 – Right… It’s how the right reminds their Luddite base that they are tough on the estimated 179.6 million active pedophiles in the United States alone.

  7. Balbas says:

    On the other hand…

    Maybe congress letting us all eyeball reams of kiddie-porn will solve another difficulty: the problem itself. If we wallow in it, everyone of us, then we’ll all get tired of it and the problem will be solved through sheer boredom of looking at little kids.

    I predict binoculars with digital cameras will have a surge in sales five years from now.

  8. ECA says:

    WHERE in Hell do you get that number?? 179 million is over 1/2 of the USA.. Including Children.
    Sex offenders, i can see…Its an easy list to get on.
    but, REGISTERED Ped’?? thats abit rough to get/be on..

    If this is an online list, I want a GREAT laugh…
    Show me the 6 year old, that was put on the list for giving a GIRL a hug/kiss.

  9. Raintrees says:

    Okay… Well, let’s see. If I cut my estimated taxes (I own an LLC) to pay for hiring someone to watch my logs and conform to this proposed law, Congress just lost another US$30,000 a year (don’t forget the benefits I will also have to pay for). So maybe this is not so bad – I employ yet another local person while giving less money directly to this government in order to support their proposed law… I like 🙂

  10. GigG says:

    Last time I checked the House was controlled by Democrats.

  11. Dennis says:

    When did it become a Federal MANDATE to become parents to children?
    Why does the Federal Government feel it is their duty to police an international medium with my tax dollars (or in actuality the money they borrow from the Chinese, because our tax dollars are reserved to pay the INTEREST ONLY on the debt).
    Welcome to Amerika, first door on the left…one cross each.

  12. GetSmart says:

    Freedom of the Press. The Internet IS the new printing press. And soapbox. And public meeting place. We are going to HAVE to vote ALL of these idiots OUT. They have GOT to go.

  13. gtriamy says:

    Although this “seems” to make public internet providers “police” in their own way; the statement that

    “Anyone providing an “electronic communication service” or “remote computing service” to the public who learns about the transmission or storage of information about certain illegal activities or an illegal image must…”

    gives any good lawyer enough room to get out of just about anything. It doesn’t look like they are forcing anyone to keep a log on internet traffic, so as long as you are completely oblivious, you will never “learn” of any illegal activity. It seems to me that the only thing this law does is move the responsibility of reporting and acting on found illegal activity on a public/open internet connection.

    I could be wrong, but i don’t really see a huge problem with this. (prove me wrong)

  14. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #38 – WHERE in Hell do you get that number?? 179 million is over 1/2 of the USA.. Including Children.

    I made it up.

    Just like our leaders do.

  15. Zed says:

    First off, I’m no fan of the current administration or the monkeys in congress, but … I have read the bills. They do not say that as an operator you must be proactive in policing all your traffic looking for offending stuff. It says that if you become aware of any (i.e. someone reports it, or you stumble across it), you must report it. How is that the end of the world?

  16. Zed says:

    “Nothing in this section shall be construed to require an electronic communication service provider or a remote computing service provider to–

    `(1) monitor any user, subscriber, or customer of that provider;

    `(2) monitor the content of any communication of any person described in paragraph (1); or

    `(3) affirmatively seek facts or circumstances described in subsection”

  17. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #15 – It isn’t the end of the world… but its bad policy.

    We do not, in America, routinely deputize private citizens to do the work of local, state, or federal law enforcement officers… and for good reason.

    The guy who was tasked with setting up the WiFi spot at the coffee shop isn’t a trained officer. He isn’t qualified to police anything.

    Now if I ran a network and saw pictures (I don’t know how I’d see these pictures, but lets assume I did) of a greasy 40 year old man anally raping a 6 year old girl, you can damn well bet I’ll be on the phone to every law enforcement office I can find a number for until someone comes out to gather info and try to track down whoever is trafficking it.

    But as I think I mentioned in another thread, we’ve seen parents prosecuted in this country for having pictures of their own kids playing in the tub, and we know there are amazingly unreasonable and zealous people in this country chomping at the bit to turn in fellow citizens in the name of some hard core moral code or another.

    We should always take seriously crime tips generated by concerned citizens, but never legislate a mandate that makes citizens responsible for enforcing a grossly ambiguous policy.

  18. Rabble Rouser says:

    I must have blinked… When did Stalin become president?

  19. Steve S says:

    Rabble Rouser said,
    “I must have blinked… When did Stalin become president?”

    It happened in 2000 only he changed his name.

  20. Angel H. Wong says:

    “including “obscene” cartoons and drawings”

    Here’s one of those places

    Strangely though it’s vastly populated by women, specially the bitch type.

  21. Matto says:

    Anytime you see an open access computer, open up a document and type in the words “How to make a bomb – a guide for terrorists” and walk away. Flood the system.

  22. DeLeMa says:

    Lessee, they voted 409 to 2 and the 2 that voted against it were both Democrats so that means those scum sukking little boy lusting repugnacunts were the majority voters once again, proving how much they hate our Constittwoshun…
    Yay ! I just posted an off-topic bash and now I feel good about myself… Excuse me while I go whine and pout on another forum. Go Comrade Bushie !!


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