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Securing Adolescents From Exploitation-Online Act
December 6, 2007 3:44 PM   Subscribe

Yesterday, the US House passed the SAFE Act. No, not that one. Points of note:
- If signed into law, the SAFE Act will require people offering WiFi at their cafe, library, or even allowing their neighbours to use it, who notice that someone appears to have viewed certain dirty cartoons, or pictures of fully-clothed children looking sexy, to immediately make a comprehensive report to John Walsh's CyberTipLine, and retain the images, or face a fine of up to $150,000.
- ISPs or email services have the same obligations, and must store all data relating to the user's account, to be handed over to the authorities.
- The Democrats rushed the legislation through using a mechanism intended for non-controversial legislation. There was no hearing or committee vote. The legislation changed significantly before the vote and was not available for public review.
- The bill passed 409-2. Opposed were Paul Broun (R-Georgia) and Ron Paul (R-Texas). The Senate is next, so consider telling them what you think.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 (98 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fuck.
posted by 31d1 at 3:49 PM on December 6, 2007


(1) IN GENERAL- Whoever, while engaged in providing an electronic communication service or a remote computing service to the public through a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, obtains actual knowledge of any facts or circumstances described in paragraph (2) shall, as soon as reasonably possible--

Ignorance is bliss.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:53 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


`(f) Protection of Privacy- 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 (a)(2).
So in other words, you only have to report people if you know they are doing something, and you don't need to actively monitor anything.
posted by delmoi at 3:54 PM on December 6, 2007


well, can we apply this (fully-clothed children looking sexy) to those fully obnoxious kid's beauty pageants?
posted by edgeways at 3:55 PM on December 6, 2007


delmoi, sounds like a good basis for the Ronald Regan defense.
posted by edgeways at 3:56 PM on December 6, 2007


delmoi, internet outragers club dont care about the actual text of the bill. The internet complainer culture scoffs at your facts! Dude, news.com just got 10 million ad impression this hour.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:57 PM on December 6, 2007


Can we please stop naming legislation after cheesy acronyms?

SAFE - Securing Adolescents From Exploitation
PROTECT - Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today
USA PATRIOT - Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism

Is this fucking Romper Room?

About this stupid overreaching law that will do nothing to stem kiddie porn or child exploitation... But it will mean people who operate wifi hotspots, ISPs and email services will need to need to scan our data and keep records. 409 members of congress need to be voted out next November because instead of passing laws that we need -- or having impeachment hearings -- are wasting their time on this shit.
posted by birdherder at 3:58 PM on December 6, 2007 [14 favorites]


Nancy Pelosi are you really sure you want the democrats to lose the 2008 election? Do you not like being speaker? Well if you don't like being speaker quit? We'll find somebody else.
posted by Rubbstone at 3:58 PM on December 6, 2007


Opposed were Paul Broun (R-Georgia) and Ron Paul (R-Texas)

OMG they don't care about adolescents being exploited! Are they pedophiles?
posted by dersins at 3:58 PM on December 6, 2007


After previewing and hitting post...

About this stupid overreaching law that will do nothing to stem kiddie porn or child exploitation... But it will mean people who operate wifi hotspots, ISPs and email services will need to need to scan our data and keep records. 409 members of congress need to be voted out next November because instead of passing laws that we need -- or having impeachment hearings -- are wasting their time on this shit.
posted by birdherder at 3:59 PM on December 6, 2007


Also, I do not understand your use of the "beets" tag, East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94. Is this an inside joke I don't get, East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94?
posted by dersins at 4:01 PM on December 6, 2007


Clueless Congress regulates things they don't understand, youtube at 11.
[NOT NOTABIGTRUCK-IST]
posted by finite at 4:03 PM on December 6, 2007


// 7
(_,_/\
\ \
\ \
_\ \__
( \ )
\___\___/
posted by ericb at 4:04 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Interesting. From link, emphasis mine:

Any person who... knowingly produces, distributes, receives, or possesses with intent to distribute, a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, that -
(1)(A) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and
(B) is obscene; or
(2)(A) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex; and
(B) lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value
or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be subject to the penalties provided.


In addition to obscenity, the courts are now required to determine 'serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.' (Although my mind elided that phrase with the next one, and I chuckled a little at the thought of someone "attempting or conspiring to attempt to lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.")

Unfortunately, I think it's important to crack down on this stuff, and this seems like a generally good way. That phrase is also a good caveat, or at least a good start toward one. What potential problems to people see arising?
posted by koeselitz at 4:05 PM on December 6, 2007


What does "To the extent available to an electronic communication service provider or a remote computing service provider, each report under subsection (a)(1) shall include the following information" mean? Do providers have to log & archive every bit that passes over their wire?
posted by juv3nal at 4:06 PM on December 6, 2007


koeselitz, why is it important to crack down on dirty cartoons? Do you believe life begins at fictional conception?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:08 PM on December 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


Nancy Pelosi are you really sure you want the democrats to lose the 2008 election? Do you not like being speaker? Well if you don't like being speaker quit? We'll find somebody else.

Are you kidding? You really think the average American is opposed to busting child-porn fiends, including people who look at cartoon versions? I think this law is rather stupid, but it's hardly a threat to freedom of speech your ISP has to know that you're sending or receiving child porn. but it's up to them to determine whether or not they think what you're doing qualifies.

Anyway, I'm not a fan of this law at all. I don't like any sort of mandatory reporting. I mean, if this is legal, why not make a similar law for people discussing drug deals, or whatever? James Sensenbrenner proposed a law that would have given everyone who was aware of a marijuana deal, but didn't report it a mandatory 10 year prison sentence. Pretty crazy.

So yeah, I think this law is dumb. But far less damaging to civil liberties then the stuff the bush administration came up with, and not hardly politically damaging.
posted by delmoi at 4:10 PM on December 6, 2007


East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94: koeselitz, why is it important to crack down on dirty cartoons? Do you believe life begins at fictional conception?

Not to mention "sculpture." Sculpture? What the fuck? When was the last time you saw a child-porn sculpture?

Of course, given that this would make it necessary to report the downloading of nearly every comic book ever produced in Japan, well, yes, this will have more impact than I'd originally realized.

I don't think they'd hurt themselves by removing the other media and limiting this to photographs and video. In fact, I have no idea what possessed them not to. But the fault lies not with the lawmakers' knowledge of the internet; it lies in the lawmakers' unfamiliarity with certain outer reaches of pornography where that sort of thing crops up now and again. Aside from that, the law seems to be good in spirit, and even in application so long as anything besides photographs and video are excluded. Right?
posted by koeselitz at 4:22 PM on December 6, 2007


In other words, cartoons are not central to this legislation, and it will remain essentially the same if they are removed. We should lobby for that.
posted by koeselitz at 4:24 PM on December 6, 2007


Not to mention "sculpture." Sculpture? What the fuck? When was the last time you saw a child-porn sculpture?

Um, how about "all the time." Does "all the time" work for you?
posted by dersins at 4:26 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


You didn't read the law, dersins. The children in said sculpture have to be one of two things; they have to be either (1) having sex and obscene (whatever that means) or (2) being sexually abused in some way and lacking artistic merit.
posted by koeselitz at 4:30 PM on December 6, 2007


Golden showers not sexually explicit enough for you?
posted by dersins at 4:31 PM on December 6, 2007


(2) being sexually abused having sex in some way and lacking artistic merit.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:32 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


1) Find graphic novel of Romeo and Juliet
2) Replace dialog with lyrics to My Humps
3) ?????
4) Gitmo!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:37 PM on December 6, 2007 [11 favorites]


True. Sorry, EMRJKC94.

dersins: Golden showers not sexually explicit enough for you?

Are you saying that there's no difference between child nudity and child porn? In effect, that would mean that either child porn shouldn't be illegal or any instance of child nudity should be.
posted by koeselitz at 4:37 PM on December 6, 2007


koeselitz writes "In addition to obscenity, the courts are now required to determine 'serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.'"

That's been the standard for obscenity for nearly 35 years. It's called the Miller test.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:44 PM on December 6, 2007


Pedofilter: Better stock up on spank material before this law takes effect!
posted by bunnytricks at 4:46 PM on December 6, 2007


This is horrible and all, but am I the only one who instinctively clicked on the dirty cartoons link and was disappointed to find nothing but legalese?
posted by Bugg at 4:47 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Are you saying that there's no difference between child nudity and child porn? In effect, that would mean that either child porn shouldn't be illegal or any instance of child nudity should be.

Jesus fuck I was kidding, you humorless... humorless person.
posted by dersins at 4:52 PM on December 6, 2007


I am not humorless. I'm only dense.
posted by koeselitz at 4:56 PM on December 6, 2007


Yes, Bugg, and your comment has been reported to the authorities.
posted by finite at 4:56 PM on December 6, 2007


...pictures of fully-clothed children looking sexy?
If I don’t find children sexy at all, how the fu...

“this law is dumb. But far less damaging to civil liberties then the stuff the bush administration came up with”

Democrats in a nutshell.
(No offense delmoi. That does seem to be the Dem’s M.O - ‘ok, we’re idiots, but we’re not EVIL and hey, we’re the only other possible choice, amirite?’)

“When was the last time you saw a child-porn sculpture?”

They’re all over the place in Italian cathedrals, ‘cept they have little wings on ‘em. No seriously.

“Are you saying that there's no difference between child nudity and child porn? In effect, that would mean that either child porn shouldn't be illegal or any instance of child nudity should be.”

I think that’s what many lawmakers have pushed for - any instance of child nudity should be illegal. It’s what drives that “fully clothed but looking sexy” mentality.
There are tools law enforcement needs to prevent exploitation and harm to children. This, on the other hand, is a politically expediant whitewash that is security theater in place of a program that might, y’know, do something.
Meanwhile the law can’t touch the Missouri parent that harrassed a teenager into committing suicide.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:03 PM on December 6, 2007


Man, I wish I could pull off 'fully clothed but sexy'.

Stupid kids.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:09 PM on December 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


hooray for ron paul! if the election were today, i'd vote for him.
posted by bruce at 5:19 PM on December 6, 2007


"Opposed were Paul Broun (R-Georgia) and Ron Paul (R-Texas)"

C'mon. Paul Broun is the name Ron Paul registers under at hotels. They're the same person.

(And yes, this is bullshit, and no, it's not likely to pass the Senate, and even if it does, it's gonna be impossible to enforce, so thanks for another sensationalist outragefilter FPP. The blue should not be yellow.)
posted by klangklangston at 5:20 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


As an anarchist, I support the passing of stupid laws that nobody will follow. This waters down the system of laws to the point that they are ignored by most, and collapse will come easily. It appears that the House agrees with me, or they are just profoundly inept.
posted by mullingitover at 5:25 PM on December 6, 2007 [5 favorites]


Ron Paul? Is that the guy who made the guitars? Or am I thinking of Opie Cunningham?
posted by Smedleyman at 5:28 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


edgeways : well, can we apply this (fully-clothed children looking sexy) to those fully obnoxious kid's beauty pageants?

Oh gods, yes. I so want to watch that news report;

"Three thousand people were arrested today and the downtown auditorium, in what police are calling a 'child pornography mecca'. Dozens of little girls, some no more than ten years old were being forced to parade in front of an audience in what some are referring to as 'slutty' and 'demeaning' outfits. Even more shocking; in almost every case, the children's parents were the ones who forced them into this disgusting and deplorable lifestyle. Who knew that our city was so rife with child predators? More as the story unfolds, back to you Jon."
posted by quin at 5:34 PM on December 6, 2007 [8 favorites]


and no, it's not likely to pass the Senate

Please enlighten us as to why something that was passed 409-2 in the House is unlikely to pass the Senate.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:41 PM on December 6, 2007


Huh. So if you go here, which is just a random show of recent images that people have uploaded to tinypic.com (a legit photo hosting site), odds are really good that there are photos of under-age folks there, some of whom will be in "sexy" poses, having fun with their friends and hamming it up for the camera.

Of the 20 photos shown at a time, on my screen currently 1/4 of them are probably "illegal": A Maxfield Parrish-style illustration featuring adolescent youths, in which the female is in some sort of diaphanous gown; an image of a woman who might be 15 or might be 20 kissing what appears to be another woman's breast, though the angle and zoom are such that she could be simply eating a baby (nothing explicit is visible, though I suppose the idea of what she might be up to is potentially exciting to the right audience); an image of a teenage girl kissing another teenage girl on the cheek (the girl being kissed has a "sultry" expression); some dude taking a shot of himself in the mirror, he's wearing pants but that's it, have no idea of his age but razors probably aren't a big expense yet; and some sort of anime still that features the usual stuff, not explicit but not exactly innocent.

So, I'm a criminal now?
posted by maxwelton at 6:00 PM on December 6, 2007


Like so many of you, I too am seriously concerned about Congress requiring my ISP to report my kiddie porn browsing habits.
posted by punishinglemur at 6:01 PM on December 6, 2007


Please enlighten us as to why something that was passed 409-2 in the House is unlikely to pass the Senate.

The Senate is widely considered the "more deliberative body", which is Latin for "lower per capita raving lunatics than in the House". Many many things that pass the House never gain traction in the Senate. Thankfully.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 6:05 PM on December 6, 2007


Quite honestly, it isn't the point that this law is "unlikely to pass the Senate". The point is it's even being considered.

This is the essence of "feel good, make work" legislation. It is broadly worded, panders to ignorant, paranoid, tabloid-minded parents, and doesn't fill a societal need. (Is there any recent legitimate child pornography case under the existing law?)

Want to know what this law will do? Check it: This is a feel good law that will ruin people's lives. While Americans make fun of Muslims protesting over cartoon depictions of Allah.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 6:34 PM on December 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is there any legitimate child porn case that could not be prosecuted under the existing law? I mean, damnit.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 6:36 PM on December 6, 2007


Is there any legitimate child porn case that could not be prosecuted under the existing law? I mean, damnit.

Was there any legitimate copyright infringement case that could not be prosecuted prior to the DMCA? Didn't stop them then.
posted by kableh at 6:43 PM on December 6, 2007


Like so many of you, I too am seriously concerned about Congress requiring my ISP to report my kiddie porn browsing habits.

I am seriously concerned about congress making criminals out of citizens looking at something that doesn't involve either "kiddies" or "porn", pick one, and of people who don't snitch on their neighbour for same.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:46 PM on December 6, 2007


Like so many of you, I too am seriously concerned about Congress requiring my ISP to report my kiddie porn browsing habits.

Let me break it down for you Kelly editorial cartoon style, sweet cheeks.

A naive looking citizen, strictly from squaresville, is standing outside his hard-won home with his wife, saying "Thank goodness I've done nothing wrong so I have nothing to worry about." Off to one side is a big Grim Reaper labeled "false accusations", and behind the house a worried looking statue of liberty is crying. In the corner Kelly is saying... well, Kelly isn't saying anything because he wouldn't do this cartoon. Let's say it's Ayn Rand, chainsmoking and frowning.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:53 PM on December 6, 2007 [6 favorites]


I have a better idea. Throw all of the stupid children off of the internet. That's right, BAN anyone under 18 from using the Internet.

Clearly they cannot handle the responsibility of the Big Scary Internet and will wind up skullfucked by people they meet on myspace.

I'm tired of the "kid-izing" of the Internet.. or at least the attempts at it. Screw it. No more kids on the net. If they have to be there, lock them into .kids and that's it. Leave the rest of it alone.
posted by drstein at 7:11 PM on December 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'm tellin'!
posted by doctorschlock at 7:12 PM on December 6, 2007


EMRJKC94: You're concerned about the wrong laws. This bill does not criminalize looking at such images, or any images for that matter. It requires an operator of "an electronic communication service or a remote computing service" to report to the CyberTipLine any person who is viewing images that appear to violate other laws already in effect.

fleetmouse: The bill requires an operator of "an electronic communication service or a remote computing service" to make a report to the CyperTipLine if they obtain "actual knowledge" of a person accessing material in violation of various laws already in effect. If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about; if you're reported but the materials you were viewing do not violate anti-kiddie porn laws already on the books, then you haven't broken a law and you're fine. If you're reported and what you were viewing DOES violate laws already on the books, then the accusations aren't false and you're fucked.
posted by punishinglemur at 7:14 PM on December 6, 2007


drstein has the best idea yet, actually. Unenforceable, but a good idea.
posted by maxwelton at 7:18 PM on December 6, 2007


Also, EMRJKC94: your neighbor would only have to snitch if s/he was both operating "an electronic communication service or a remote computing service" and obtained "actual knowledge" that you were accessing content which violates laws intended to ban child pornography. If that's your neighbor, it means you are using an internet connection provided by her to view images of child rape. God forbid she tell someone to check into it.
posted by punishinglemur at 7:19 PM on December 6, 2007


For those of you who can't see how this can go terribly wrong, take a look at this story in my local paper from last Dec. Long story short, guy gets busted for child porn, Dr. Christine Barron former director of the UMass Memorial Medical Center’s Child Protection Program decides that in her expert opinion 37 images on the confiscated computer are in fact children... guy gets aquited when the 20 something porn star in question takes the stand; for the second time.

If the experts cant get this right in the lab, how does a soccer mom do it on the fly at starbucks?
posted by paxton at 7:21 PM on December 6, 2007


She doesn't, because she's drinking a Frappuccino, not operating the store's WiFi connection.
posted by punishinglemur at 7:23 PM on December 6, 2007


EMRJKC94: You're concerned about the wrong laws. This bill does not criminalize looking at such images, or any images for that matter. It requires an operator of "an electronic communication service or a remote computing service" to report to the CyberTipLine any person who is viewing images that appear to violate other laws already in effect.

Ohh, I'm so sorry, I only highlighted one incredibly retarded victimless law when I should have highlighted more than one incredibly retarded victimless law, please forgive me.

I am firmly of the opinion that child rape convictions should at some point involve actual children. Call me ker-ayyyzeeee but that is my position! This is also the position of Benjamin Franklin, because I exhumed his corpse and transcendentially mediated with him and he said that thing I said.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:24 PM on December 6, 2007


I never said I agreed with our current federal child pornography laws.
posted by punishinglemur at 7:33 PM on December 6, 2007


It's true. America sucks more every day.
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 7:37 PM on December 6, 2007


Personally, I think the Internet !!!OUTRAGE!!! is a bit misplaced. Your average Joe operating a public WiFi hotspot is not affected by this bill -- this merely effects Internet service providers and the like. Furthermore, it's not like these requirements didn't exist before. This merely severely increases the fines and requires some additional data-retention for authorities.

Having said that, do I like this law? Not really. I can't see how this is in any way shape or form effective. I mean, I haven't exactly seen an epidemic of rogue American ISPs who eagerly harbor child pornography. In fact, most American service providers tend to be supersensitive about this sort of thing.

On the other hand, I see plenty of potential for abuse for rogue prosecutors to abuse this law and exploit this for their own political gain. Crimes having to do with sex seems to be the latest moral panic du jour... and those with power ambitions love to take advantage of the moral panic illogic.
posted by soundwave106 at 7:37 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


What if you're posting beach pictures of your kids on flickr, or reading excerpts from In Praise of the Stepmother by Mario Vargas Llosa, or looking at photos by Nan Goldin and someone from your ISP or some shoulder surfing barista at the coffee shop happens to notice and decides it's safer to turn you in than face a $150,000 fine? What if the DA and / or other officials decide not to let it drop because they'll look soft on pervosexual crime?

Maybe, MAYBE you get some justice in the end, after being chewed up by the legal system and the media.

Or not.
posted by fleetmouse at 7:39 PM on December 6, 2007


also relevant
posted by fleetmouse at 7:41 PM on December 6, 2007


What potential problems to people see arising?

Are you actually asking that? Are you so thickheaded that you can't figure this one out?

It would effectively make it illegal to buy an internet connection and give out free wifi in your home or business. Hell, it'd effectively outlaw cheap wifi too.

The tech required to monitor all this shit with any accuracy is significantly more expensive than the $50 WAP that most coffee shops and homes use. As such, they'd all have to align with large commercial providers to be able to comply with the law, and eliminate their (enormous, absurd) liability.

And for what? A joke of a program that won't do dick to stop the actual problems, because it'll still be trivial to circumvent the monitors.

The only good thing about this law is that it will be ruled unconstitutional 3 minutes after it's implemented. The bad thing is that dull-headed morons like you think it's not a bad idea, and are unable to instantly see that this would do absolutely nothing useful, unless you happen to own a large telecommunications company.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 7:45 PM on December 6, 2007 [4 favorites]


from paxton’s second link:
“John Carr, an internet safety adviser for the children’s charity NCH, says there is an argument for creating a database of adult performers, but he believes it would be wrong to put the onus on police to prove the age of a person in a pornographic picture before bringing a prosecution...Fewer than 500 children anywhere in the world have ever been identified from images recovered from the internet”

That’s actually much worse than I thought it was. I’m thinking photo forensics, identification of materials in the environment in the picture and so forth could lead to some arrests. Apparently it’s far more inefficient a method than I’d thought. Perhaps if we keep throwing money at it?
Anything that has to do with “the computer” is better than child support services and investigation by trained personnel. It’s a computer. They’re like, magic. Making calls, talking to people, looking for signs of abuse, footwork, - getting off your ass is sooo 20th century. No way we could fund that.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:49 PM on December 6, 2007


The problem, then, is not this particular law, but politically-driven prosecutions and a sensationalist media.
posted by punishinglemur at 7:49 PM on December 6, 2007


That was a response to fleetmouse's most recent comments.
posted by punishinglemur at 7:50 PM on December 6, 2007


The tech required to monitor all this shit with any accuracy is significantly more expensive than the $50 WAP that most coffee shops and homes use.

There's no requirement to monitor, Tacos, only to report if noticed. But the fines for not reporting are so steep that it virtually guarantees false positives "just in case", hence legal harrassment of the innocent.
posted by fleetmouse at 7:52 PM on December 6, 2007


“Are you so thickheaded that you can't figure this one out?”

I suspect, from tone and how it’s couched, the question was posited more for sake of discussion than for argument. Albeit with one side supported.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:56 PM on December 6, 2007


Tacos: Wrong, wrong, wrong! It would not effectively make it illegal to provide free/cheap WiFi. Providers are not required to actively monitor their users. In fact, the bill specifically states this:
(f) Protection of Privacy- 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 (a)(2) [evidence of kiddie porn].
Furthermore, while the bill states that reports to the CyberTipLine should include information about the individual involved, information about time and place of access, and the images in question, these are only to be provided "to the extent available to an electronic communication service provider."
posted by punishinglemur at 7:56 PM on December 6, 2007


My tone in the above post is directed more at the Digg-style FUD surrounding this bill than you in particular, Tacos.
posted by punishinglemur at 7:58 PM on December 6, 2007


So we have to start retaining all the data that passes through open Wifi?

Fuck that, and fuck this law, and fuck every single member of the house except the two heroes that voted against it. Fuck.
posted by Sukiari at 8:02 PM on December 6, 2007


So what’s this ? (SFW...or is it?)
posted by Smedleyman at 8:12 PM on December 6, 2007


So, they're going to make TOR illegal as well then? Because capturing bytes is so useful for working out what someone's looking at on the internet...
posted by Jimbob at 9:21 PM on December 6, 2007


Tacos: Wrong, wrong, wrong! It would not effectively make it illegal to provide free/cheap WiFi. Providers are not required to actively monitor their users. In fact, the bill specifically states this

But if a coffee shop offers wifi and doesn't monitor, then they aren't providing information "to the extent available to an electronic communication service provider." The information is certainly available to them. It just costs money to retain it is all.
posted by juv3nal at 9:45 PM on December 6, 2007


Read the section of the bill I posted that explicitly states that nothing else in that section of the bill, which includes the "extent available" text, requires providers to monitor the content or communication of any user, subscriber, or customer.
posted by punishinglemur at 9:56 PM on December 6, 2007


That should read, "content of any communication"
posted by punishinglemur at 9:59 PM on December 6, 2007


I tried conveying my outrage to my Senator, but Daniel Alfredsson *sigh!* said he didn't know what I was talking about or how I got his number.

He said if I phone again he's calling the cops.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:25 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well darn, I guess my Precious Moments on Ebay are going to cause some problems.
posted by Esoquo at 11:39 PM on December 6, 2007


The Senate is widely considered the "more deliberative body", which is Latin for "lower per capita raving lunatics than in the House".

Well, since it seems that the house is 94 percent raving lunatic, we'd better hope that the Senate is much, much lower.
posted by grouse at 1:22 AM on December 7, 2007


Bills like this are perfect pork vehicles, incidentally, because no one dares vote against them lest they are smeared as for "supporting child porn!"
posted by maxwelton at 2:12 AM on December 7, 2007


“perfect pork vehicles”

*heroically refrains from exploiting magnificent straight line*
posted by Smedleyman at 2:39 AM on December 7, 2007


Huh. I'm rather surprised that they didn't use TERRAR! as the pork vehicle theme.
posted by romakimmy at 4:13 AM on December 7, 2007


Is there any legitimate child porn case that could not be prosecuted under the existing law? I mean, damnit.

It's no use changing Bora Horza Gobuchul...
posted by longbaugh at 4:50 AM on December 7, 2007


I'm as big of a supporter of civil rights and liberties as the next guy, but I think it's interesting how many people jump to the conclusion that under this bill coffee shops will have to sift through everyone's internet usage or ELSE! Laws are are complex; read 'em before you start ZOMG'ing.
posted by craven_morhead at 6:20 AM on December 7, 2007


Laws are are complex; read 'em before you start ZOMG'ing.

Well, not everyone will, that's the problem. If this becomes law, there probably will be some coffee shops that shut down because of it. ZOMG.
posted by grouse at 7:12 AM on December 7, 2007


There's a follow up article including feedback from the bill's sponsor.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:14 AM on December 7, 2007


To Congress, with all due (lack of) respect: ,,|,,
posted by jamstigator at 7:28 AM on December 7, 2007


The legislation is probably unnecessary (and may not even pass anyway), but this just fits into the over-criminalization trend you'll find at both the state and federal level. If you read the mail/wire fraud statutes broadly, almost everyone has probably committed a federal crime. Trouble is, no politician ever lost an election because they were "tough on crime" -- witness the fact that only *two* members of Congress voted against the bill. "Tough on Crime" is hardly a partisan issue, so expect the trend to continue no matter who is in charge. Further, given the political climate, anyone who votes "no" on such bills is essentially voting "yes" to child pornography during the next election cycle. Good luck clarifying your position on civil liberties for wifi providers during a 30-second campaign spot responding to your opponents assertion that you "voted against a bill that would keep child pornographers off our streets."

This said, as others have pointed out, this bill does not mean people will have to shut down their wifi connections for fear of violating this law (as currently presented). Actual knowledge of -- or possibly, willful blindness to -- the the act is required. All the bill really does is prevent someone who is aware that their service is being used in connection with the production of distribution of child pornography from evading liability by saying that, despite the fact that they were aware of the activity they were under no duty to report it. It sort of an extension of accomplice liability.

As for the grey areas. Unfortunately, as long as we choose to regulate obscene materials there will always be grey areas. The best the SCOTUS could do to define pornography is that they "know it when they see it." But prosecutorial discretion should prevent charges from being brought against websites hosting parents' pictures of their baby's first bath, etc. After all, given the intangible right to "honest services", federal mail fraud prosecutions could be charged should you draft (and send) a personal letter using your company's paper and envelopes. Yet I don't think we really worry about the feds knocking down our doors when we do that.
posted by herc at 7:34 AM on December 7, 2007


Unfortunately, as long as we choose to regulate obscene materials there will always be grey areas.

Those grey areas would be a lot smaller if the law didn't specifically aim to protect fictional children.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:43 AM on December 7, 2007


This law covers cartoons that "attempt" to "depict an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in sadistic abuse" and that "lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value".

So, I guess don't go here.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:43 AM on December 7, 2007


soundwave106 writes "Personally, I think the Internet !!!OUTRAGE!!! is a bit misplaced. Your average Joe operating a public WiFi hotspot is not affected by this bill -- this merely effects Internet service providers and the like. Furthermore, it's not like these requirements didn't exist before. This merely severely increases the fines and requires some additional data-retention for authorities. "

Which is an onerous burden for small ISPs like the one I work for, one more to deal with. We are not the police, and we shouldn't be expected to act like them.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:16 AM on December 7, 2007


herc writes "Actual knowledge of -- or possibly, willful blindness to -- the the act is required. All the bill really does is prevent someone who is aware that their service is being used in connection with the production of distribution of child pornography from evading liability by saying that, despite the fact that they were aware of the activity they were under no duty to report it."

"So what exactly does the SAFE Act do? It doesn't mandate ongoing network surveillance. What it does require is that anyone providing Internet access who learns about the transmission or storage of information about 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. (Note that some reporting requirements already apply to Internet access providers under current law.)"
posted by krinklyfig at 9:20 AM on December 7, 2007


According to Ars Technica's Nate Anderson, the monitoring requirements are much less strict than they're being made out to be.
posted by Asymptote at 9:29 AM on December 7, 2007


Not to mention "sculpture." Sculpture? What the fuck? When was the last time you saw a child-porn sculpture?

Dude, it's Rule #34 of Sculpture.
posted by rokusan at 9:42 AM on December 7, 2007


I can understand the kiddy porn, but come on... hentai? Since when are dirty drawings illegal? This is ridiculous.
posted by hellphish at 12:20 PM on December 7, 2007


(please don't take my tentacle porn away)
posted by hellphish at 12:20 PM on December 7, 2007


YAY!! Big government!
posted by JJ86 at 12:37 PM on December 7, 2007


So I think I'm failing massively at parsing this. You don't have an obligation to monitor. And you don't have an obligation to report unless you know. Then it seems to me you have zero obligation to report anything because unless you were monitoring, you can't know. (short of actually seeing an image on someone's screen). Is that all this is intended to cover?
posted by juv3nal at 12:51 PM on December 7, 2007


Then it seems to me you have zero obligation to report anything because unless you were monitoring, you can't know.

Exactly. Kinda like...
"As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know."

- Donald Rumsfeld | Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing
posted by ericb at 1:45 PM on December 7, 2007


On the plus side, maybe this will discourage detailed recordkeeping. I worry about the NSA a lot more than I worry about child porn. (Not that this'll have a significant affect on either of 'em).

Even the silver lining is pretty damn bleak these days. *sigh*
posted by ryanrs at 10:08 AM on December 8, 2007


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