Senator Lamar Smith, lead sponsor of the currently dead SOPA bill you’ve heard so much about, has another bill in the works that uses Child Pornography as a screen to push through an amendment that’ll have your internet service provider tracking all of your financial dealings online. Each time you use a credit card, each time you read your bank statement, all of your IP information and your search history will be required by your ISP to be stored for 18 months at all times. This bill is H.R. 1981 and will have more dire consequences than SOPA or PIPA ever had the potential to have.
What it does is to amend several rules that have to do with Child Pornography and preventing it, the bill itself called the “Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011.” What it also does is to change the U.S. code Chapter 18 section 2703 Required Disclosure of Customer Communications or Records to include a requirement that your internet service provider do the following:
A commercial provider of an electronic communication service shall retain for a period of at least one year a log of the temporarily assigned network addresses the provider assigns to a subscriber to or customer of such service that enables the identification of the corresponding customer or subscriber information under subsection (c)(2) of this section.
While it was legal for the government to issue a subpoena for the viewing of the information they speak about here before, it was not part of the law that internet service providers capture or retain that information at any point. In effect, while before the authorities would need to first find a reason for you to need to be watched to get the ISP to start collecting information from you, that information will already exist on file, effectively meaning you’re being watched and recorded even if you’ve done nothing wrong.
Don’t worry though, there’s an additional set of lines that should placate you because it’s so very kind of them to think of:
(1) to encourage electronic communication service providers to give prompt notice to their customers in the event of a breach of the data retained pursuant to section 2703(h) of title 18 of the United States Code, in order that those effected can take the necessary steps to protect themselves from potential misuse of private information; and
(2) that records retained pursuant to section 2703(h) of title 18, United States Code, should be stored securely to protect customer privacy and prevent against breaches of the records.
So don’t worry, your information will be “stored securely” so noone else can access it! But if they do access it, your ISP will give you “prompt notice” so you can change all your credit card numbers, hide your kids, hide your wife, and hide your husband. This bill has currently cleared its committee, this meaning that the next step is a full vote. This bill needs to be stopped, and if I might go one better, Lamar Smith needs to be stopped, for the good of the internet and YOUR privacy.