News Item:
House vote on illegal images
sweeps  in WiFi and Websites

A new bill just passed by the House of Representatives requires ‘anyone’ offering a WiFi connection to the public to document and report any illegal or obscene images transmitted over their network, or face a $300,000 fine.  This includes cartoons and drawings, and ‘anyone’ is broadly defined in the bill as coffee shops, libraries, hotels, company networks, service providers, domain name registrars, email providers, and individuals in their homes.  Documenting such an offense includes retaining the complete contents of a user’s account for future police inspection.

The bill was aimed at shutting down child-porn, and passed overwhelmingly, because any Representative with the hope of getting anyone’s vote cannot be perceived as being on the side of pedophiles.  The truth is though, this is just more political fluff.  There already is a law on the boks that requires internet service providers to report any sightings of child pornography to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, whom we support and link to on our sidebar.  This new bill, to some extent, is merely reduntant, and another case of passing new laws instead of enforcing those already on the books.

It also places an unnecessary financial burden on those seeking to offer free WiFi internet access.  We all like free, don’t we?  Do you use WiFi in your home?  Do you have computers in separate rooms wirelessly linked together?  In the broadest interpretation of the new definition, ‘you’ could be a WiFi provider, and if your neighbor piggybacks his laptop onto your network, and downloads obscene material, ‘you’ could be held liable.  Wonder how much anti-perv insurance costs these days…

News Source: CNet

Cartoon from Sid in the City

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