DownsizeDC.org
August 12, 2011
The Assault on Online Privacy
By James Wilson

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The bill is mislabeled. This is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It's creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes." - Rep. John Conyers

A dangerous bill has been approved by the Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee that would ELMINIATE your online privacy. That's why I sent a letter to Congress using DownsizeDC.org's Hands Off the Internet Campaign.

I urge you to send a letter. You may borrow from or copy this...

I insist that you oppose HR 1981, the so-called "Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act."

The very name of the bill is dishonest and offensive. It misleads the public into thinking the bill gives law enforcement expanded tools to protect children from pedophiles.

But actually, it gives law enforcement broad powers to examine ANYONE's Internet activities, for ANY reason. According to CNET (http://cnet.co/oU5t35):

* It would require commercial Internet providers "to store... customers' names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and temporarily-assigned IP addresses."
* Rep. Zoe Lofgren says this would create "a data bank of every digital act by every American" that would "let us find out where every single American visited Web sites."
* If the law passed, criminals would simply go to libraries or coffeehouses and use the Web anonymously, while law-abiding Americans would have their activities recorded.

In addition...

* ISP's will have to reconfigure their systems to accommodate the data retention requirements -- an expense they will surely pass on to their customers (to you)
* Combing through mostly irrelevant records of innocent Americans is a highly INEFFICIENT form of catching criminals

As Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation puts it, HR 1981, "would treat every Internet user like a criminal and threaten the online privacy and free speech rights of every American... Such a scheme would be as objectionable to our Founders as the requiring of licenses for printing presses or the banning of anonymous pamphlets." (http://bit.ly/rffep9)

The First and Fourth Amendments guarantee my right to anonymity and to privacy. Both disappear if the government tracks my online activities.

Uphold your oath of office to support and defend the Constitution. Oppose HR 1981!

END LETTER

You can send your letter using DownsizeDC.org's Educate the Powerful System.

DownsizeDC.org is one of 30 organizations that had sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee concerning HR 1981. You can read that letter here.

And we urge you to share with your friends who are concerned about liberty and privacy. Go to our blog to "like" and "tweet" this message: http://bit.ly/qkBXM3

James Wilson
Policy Research Director
DownsizeDC.org

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