Snooping Bill Would Force ISPs to Retain and Share Your Browsing History, Credit Card and Bank Info

(Obama must veto such a bill. – promoted by John Morgan)

“A direct assault on Internet users” is what the ACLU is calling it.  Just before the break a House committee approved HR 1981, a broad new Internet snooping bill.  They want to force Internet service providers to keep track of and retain their customers’ information — including your name, address, phone number, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and temporarily-assigned IP addresses.

They’ve shamelessly dubbed it the “Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act,” but our staunchest allies in Congress are calling it what it is: an all-encompassing Internet snooping bill.  ISPs would collect and retain your data whether or not you’re accused of a crime.

According to CNET (http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20084939-281/house-panel-approves-broadened-isp-snooping-bill/#ixzz1TRHj2GCD), the “mandatory logs would be accessible to police investigating any crime and perhaps attorneys litigating civil disputes in divorce, insurance fraud, and other cases as well.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, who led Democratic opposition to the bill said, “‘It represents a data bank of every digital act by every American’ that would ‘let us find out where every single American visited Web sites.”

http://act.demandprogress.org/… You can click on the link to join the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Library Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress, and 25 other civil liberties and privacy groups in urging Congress to reject this mess of a bill.

And you can watch our new video about the Internet Snooping Bill here: http://www.youtube.com/embed/l…

Celebrate The Web’s 20th Birthday: Fight The Internet Blacklist Bill

Demand Progress urges Americans to defend the principles that underpin the Web’s founding.

It was twenty years ago this week that Tim Berners-Lee, while working at CERN, put the world's first website online.  It announced his new creation: the World Wide Web.  Last year while urging Internet users to sign Demand Progress's petition against the Internet Blacklist Bill, Berners-Lee wrote this about the principles that underpin his project:

"No person or organization shall be deprived of their ability to connect to others at will without due process of law, with the presumption of innocence until found guilty. Neither governments nor corporations should be allowed to use disconnection from the Internet as a way of arbitrarily furthering their own aims." 

The Internet Blacklist Bill — S.968, formally called the PROTECT IP Act — would violate those principles by allowing the Department of Justice to force search engines, browsers, and service providers to block users' access to websites that have been accused of facilitating intellectual property infringement — without even giving them a day in court. It would also give IP rights holders a private right of action, allowing them to sue to get sites prevented from operating.  

S.968 has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Ron Wyden (D-OR) is temporarily blocking it from getting a floor vote by using a procedural maneuver known as a "hold".  The House is expected to take up a version of the legislation in coming weeks.

"We encourage Americans to mark this 20th birthday of the World Wide Web by defending the principles that underpinned its creation — now under persistent threat by overzealous governments and corporate interests across the globe," said Demand Progress executive director David Segal.  "In particular, the Internet Blacklist Bill would undermine the basic integrity of the Web, and we expect Congress to take it up when they return from their summer break."

More than 400,000 Demand Progress members have urged their lawmakers to oppose the Internet Blacklist Bill.  Americans can email their Senators and Representatives and ask them to oppose S.968 by visiting: http://act.demandprogress.org/letter/pipa_letter/

Demand Progress is an online activism group with more than 500,000 members.  It works to promote civil liberties, civil rights, and other progressive causes.

Ten Strikes Bill – BEAT IT

To follow up on our previous post about the Ten Strikes Bill (S. 978), we are happy to report that over 150,000 Americans have spoken out against this legislation.  

Hundreds of videos in opposition to S.978 have emerged on YouTube in the days since Demand Progress first issued an alert about the bill. Demand Progress has edited many of the videos into a single video which explains S.978 and its likely ramifications. You can watch the video here:  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IevBHt6IKX8&feature=player_embedded  

The “Ten Strikes” bill, the legislation would make it a felony to stream unlicensed content 10 times over the course of 180 days. Violators would serve up to five years in prison.

Double Standards! The U.S. on Domestic vs. Global Internet Policy

( – promoted by John Morgan)

Just this month, the United States signed on to a Human Rights Council statement praising freedom of expression on the Internet, along with forty other countries across the world. The purpose of the statement is to emphasize how integral modern-day communications technologies are for the promotion of basic human rights.  You would naturally expect the United States, leader of the free world, to be a signatory — but can the recent slew of restrictive legislation being pushed through Congress allow the U.S. to support a globally open Internet in good faith??  Let’s take a look at the inconsistencies:
  • The HRC statement says: “We consider Government-initiated closing down of the Internet, or major parts thereof, for purposes of suppressing free speech, to be in violation of freedom of expression. In addition, Governments should not mandate a more restrictive standard for intermediaries than is the case with traditional media regarding freedom of expression or hold intermediaries liable for content that they transmit or disseminate.”
  • Yet, Senate Bill 978 — the "Ten Strikes Bill" — would make unlicensed online streaming (by corporations or individual Internet users) a felony punishable by 5 years in prison.

  • The HRC statement continues: “All users, including persons with disabilities, should have greatest possible access to Internet-based content, applications and services, whether or not they are offered free of charge. In this context, network neutrality and openness are important objectives. Cutting off users from access to the Internet is generally not a proportionate sanction.
  • Yet, Senate Bill 968 — the PROTECT IP Act or "Internet Blacklist Bill" — would give the government the power to force Internet service providers, search engines, and other "information location tools" to block users' access to sites that have been accused of copyright infringement.
  • HRC: “For us, one principle is very basic: The same rights that people have offline – freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek information, freedom of assembly and association, amongst others – must also be protected online.”
  • But the Obama administration is facilitating a "three strikes" style deal between Internet Service Providers and intellectual property rights holders to reduce bandwidth and restrict web access to certain sites for users who have been accused of copyright infringement.

If you can’t stand for such hypocrisy on the part of the US government, sign our petitions below:

You can read the full text of the HRC statement here, as well as the UN report on pro-Internet freedom being praised here.