Skip to comments.Washington Attempts to Make us All Culpable for Online Child Pornography
Posted on 07/12/2011 1:31:16 PM PDT by The Magical Mischief Tour
Have you heard about The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011? It's the latest in a l-o-n-g line of just terrible bills proposed to calm (though never quite eliminate) the fears of middle-aged people about what that scary Internet might potentially do to Our Children. There's a hearing on the legislation taking place as we speak. Here's Cato's Jim Harper:
It's got everything: porn, children, the Internet. And it's got everything: financial services providers dragooned into law enforcement, data retention requirements heaped on Internet service providers, expanded "administrative subpoena" authority. (Administrative subpoenas are an improvisation to accommodate the massive power of the bureaucracy, and they've become another end-run around the Fourth Amendment. If it's "administrative" it must be reasonable, goes the non-thinking...)
This isn't a bill about child predation. It's a bald-faced attack on privacy and limited government.
Meanwhile, former Reasoner Julian Sanchez (also of Cato) muses that "I guess the 'You Are All Criminals Act' didn't have the same ring," and provides some context:
Thanks to an unwise Supreme Court decision dating from the 70s, information about your private activites loses its Fourth Amendment protection when its held by a "third party" corporation, like a phone company or Internet provider. As many legal scholars have noted, however, this allows constitutional privacy safeguards to be circumvented via a clever two-step process. Step one: The government forces private businesses (ideally the kind a citizen in the modern world can't easily avoid dealing with) to collect and store certain kinds of information about everyoneanyone might turn out to be a criminal, after all. No Fourth Amendment issue there, because it's not the government gathering it! Step two: The government gets a subpoena or court order to obtain that information, quite possibly without your knowledge. No Fourth Amendment problem here either, according to the Supreme Court, because now they're just getting a corporation's business records, not your private records. It makes no difference that they're only keeping those records because the government said they had to.
Current law already allows law enforcement to require retention of data about specific suspectsincluding e-mails and other information as well as IP addressesto ensure that evidence isn't erased while they build up enough evidence for a court order. But why spearfish when you can lower a dragnet? Blanket data requirements ensure easy access to a year-and-a-half snapshot of the online activities of millions of Americansevery one a *potential criminal.
Re-read Jacob Sullum's phenomenal piece about "Perverted Justice" from our July special issue on criminal justice. That Time cover above comes from our great Radley Balko/Jeff Winkler collection of "The Top 10 Most Absurd Time Covers of The Past 40 Years."
What is frustrating is that Congress could pass a bill that would be both constitutional and protecting. But, they just have to pander and get votes. It’s infuriating.
Many libertarians are in favor of kiddie porn and this article is proof. Might as well come out supporting NAMBLA
Man, you're just eat up with stupid, aren't you...
You are full of it, dude.
kiddie porn, legalize drugs, homosexual marriage AND they would be masturbating on street corners too.
“If you don’t like it then don’t look.”
Very disturbing from a constitutional perspective, but how does it make us all culpable for on-line pornography?
What? I'm not a libertarian, but even I think that's an incredibly stupid comment.
About the only thing that counts today as bannable kiddie porn (and this proposed law wouldn’t change it because it became a USSC level constitutional challenge) is material in which photography of actual minors performing actual indecent acts appears. I.e. which can be traced back to the sexual exploitation of minors. That it looks like something unspeakable doesn’t count, if “no children were harmed in the filming of this video” and what looks indecent is something else, like consenting adults, trick photography, animation, computer aided simulation, etc. With ever more powerful photograph and movie editing software now available even for free, “authentic” kiddie porn will likely become a very rare bird, making this a vast overkill. In the meantime, all those dossiers kept by “little brother” will be as vulnerable as any computer database to hackers and crackers.
If you’re an ISP and you decline to keep this kind of dossier on your customers, you get socked by Uncle Sammo.
Still now sure how it makes ISPs culpable for child porn, let alone “us all.”
What I mean is that I have debated liberaltarians online who actually do want to legalize the possession of REAL kiddie porn and lower the “age of consent” to 11 or even abolish it.
Taken literally that’s hyperbole, but it makes a lot of little brothers responsible for helping to police it without the secrecy safeguards you’d expect from a confidential government activity. It will be easy to tar people who don’t want these little brothers with the accusation that they must be for kiddie porn. Shoot, just look higher in this thread (unless an administrator has zotted it). This makes a zinger of a sound bite which takes a detailed explanation to refute.
"The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws"
I keep this on my homepage, unfortunately it come in hand all too often.
But is this a fair representation of the whole? Libertarians have their own “big tent” and it doesn’t necessarily mean a strong movement to open the door for child exploitation, any more than the Log Cabin Republicans are represented by Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, or even Mitt Romney. Some libertarians have religious reasons to believe that a return to biblical standards of consent vis a vis actual marriage and its expected relations would not be an evil thing, and among them they would disagree about what kind of sanctions should be placed upon explicit pictures of such relations.