Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government News Your Rights Online

House Bill Won't Criminalize Free Wi-Fi Operators 540

Posted by kdawson
from the what-were-they-thinking dept.
Velcroman98 sends word of a bill that passed the US House of Representatives by a lopsided vote of 409 to 2. It would require everyone who runs an open Wi-Fi connection to report illegal images, including "obscene" cartoons and drawings, or be fined up to $300,000. The Securing Adolescents From Exploitation-Online (SAFE) Act was rushed through the House without any hearings or committee votes, and the version that passed on a voice vote reportedly differs substantially from the last publicly available version. CNET reports that sentiment in favor of such a bill is strong in the Senate as well. Update: 12/07 06:22 GMT by Z : As clarified in an Ars writeup, this summary is a bit off-base. The bill doesn't require WiFi owners to police anything, merely 'stiffening the penalties' for those who make no effort to report obvious child pornography.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

House Bill Won't Criminalize Free Wi-Fi Operators

Comments Filter:
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:16AM (#21596385)

    Before the House vote, which was a lopsided 409 to 2, Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas) held a press conference on Capitol Hill with John Walsh, the host of America's Most Wanted

    Wow, the all-too-common convergence of a political media whore and a television media whore. Between the election year and the Writer's Guild strike, these two must be as happy as pigs in shit right now. I can almost hear them screaming "Won't someone please think of the children?!?!" from here.

    Yet another fine example of the kind of far-reaching, ridiculously broad pieces of legislation that we get thanks to election year pandering. Normally, I wouldn't worry too much about this sort of legislation, as the courts usually strip it down pretty quickly. But with the courts so packed with hardcore conservatives right now, we can no longer count on that.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Kranfer (620510)
      While the courts might rip it apart, we also have to wait for someone to challenge it... Since judges are not supposed to legislate from the bench, remember. But as far as election year pandering, I hate it myself too. Hillary Clinton is running around screaming "Look at me! Look what I did!" Yet being a New York State resident, I still cry foul that she does nothing for NY... she assumes we will vote for her ::coughs::not::coughs::. The only pandering for the presidental election I look forward to is
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by samkass (174571)
        I'm no longer a New York State resident, but Hillary Clinton has done more for New York in the few years she's had than most New York senators do in a lifetime. She can name the top issues for every county in the state and what she's done to try to address them. You can make a lot of arguments against her (I personally want her to stay out of my and my family's videogame-buying experience), but asserting that she hasn't done anything for New York is so untrue as to completely discredit you from and valid
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by jav1231 (539129)
          "I'm no longer a New York State resident, but Hillary Clinton has done more for New York in the few years she's had than most New York senators do in a lifetime. She can name the top issues for every county in the state and what she's done to try to address them. You can make a lot of arguments against her (I personally want her to stay out of my and my family's videogame-buying experience), but asserting that she hasn't done anything for New York is so untrue as to completely discredit you from and valid p
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by marcop (205587)
          Completely agree, but I still can't stand her (I am a republican too). She has brought lots of defense jobs to upstate (engineering) and I praise her for that. I too can't think of any other NY senator that has brought jobs back to NYS compared to her.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Stamen (745223)
            Seriously, why does it matter if you "can stand her". Who cares if you like her personally. I fear we'll never get good qualified politicians, we'll always get the person who people "feel" is a wonderful person, or "down to earth" or just like me. I don't want a wonderful person as my President, I don't even want someone who doesn't lie or someone who hugs their kids real tight every night after praying to my God. I could care less. I want someone who can do the job, and do it well, and be effective.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Russ Nelson (33911)
          "Get things done for New Yorkers"?? You mean "trade favors with other legislators so that every legislator gets things done for their state, but the only thing that really happens is our own federal tax dollars comes back to it." I ask "why did they ever leave New York State?"
      • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday December 06, 2007 @11:20AM (#21597291) Journal
        I mean Rudy, jeez, why do I always think "9/11" when I think Rudy Guiliani? He's done so much for 9/11. I mean New York. If he's elected president, I know he'll 9/11 the whole 9/11 into a brand new bright and shiny 9/11.

        9/11!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I really don't like Hillary, but you can't legitimately say she's done nothing for New York (or even little for New York). Even as a freshman senator, she had way more pull than typical because of her name recognition and political connections.
    • by Cpt_Kirks (37296) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:23AM (#21596461)
      Fucking Republicans! ...oh, wait. Never mind...

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        Sadly, "Won't someone please think of the children?!?!" pandering is one of the few things that can still bring Democrats and Republicans together. You're just as likely to have Hillary Clinton railing against "videogames turning our kids into killing machines" as Rush Limbaugh.
      • by neimon (713907) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:32AM (#21596599)
        Hillary is a right-wing "Democrat."

        Nevertheless, this isn't about party. It's about ignorance. You can't enforce this. You can't even define what's illegal content. It can only be used to harass people some district attorney doesn't like. Period.
        • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:59AM (#21596979) Journal
          What part of the Bill is unenforceable? It only states that if you run a free-wifi service and realize that one of your "patrons" is engaged in child pornography that you must report it. This to me is simply common sense. Nothing in the bill talked about offensive cartoons. Nothing referred to anime. The Bill states child porn which has already been defined by the U.S. Supreme court as NOT being animated.

          I realize a lot of the reaction from Slashdot has been based on the article. However, the article bears little resemblance to the actual Bill: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c110:2:./temp/~c110gRla7T [loc.gov]::

          • by belarm314 (663118) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @11:29AM (#21597435)
            Reportedly, the bill you link to bears little resemblance to what was voted on.
      • Ironically... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Elemenope (905108) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:38AM (#21596677)

        Two Republicans were the two "No" votes. Ron Paul was one (which warms my little black heart; how cute! A politician that doesn't pander with 'teh children'. He's doomed, but hopefully not before I can cast a ballot for him in my state's primary) and someone I'd never heard of--Paul Broun (R)- GA.

        When this gets to the Senate, hilarity will undoubtedly ensue as the candidates trip over each other to save the children from the pixels that everyone knows make the Baby Jesus cry. I can hope that maybe one or two will rise above (Obama, I'm looking at you), but I'm not holding my breath.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sircastor (1051070)
          I appreciate your willingness to vote for Ron Paul, I support him too. It doesn't help though when you say "He's Doomed." He's not. There is a chance for him to get on the Ballot. Naysaying doesn't help.
          • Re:Ironically... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Elemenope (905108) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @11:41AM (#21597599)

            You misunderstand my mockery. I think Ron Paul is a long-shot but he isn't "doomed" by any stretch. However, the received political wisdom is that anyone who protects (pornographers/drug dealers/molesters) against "the children" and for "due process/civil rights" is unrighteously fucked in US national politics, and that was what I was riffing on. I care little for "received political wisdom", as it manages to nearly always to be wrong. HRC is busy self-destructing in Iowa by following it--and that warms my little black heart all the more.

            I'm still not exactly sanguine about the possibility that R. Paul will last till my (sadly late and otherwise insignificant) state's primary. That does make me sad inside. ;)

    • This violates the 1st amendment. It places the Wifi operators in an uncomfortable position of being morality police while at the same time intimidates users with the threat of prosecution for posting "objectionable" content. This is another bill that ultimately does more harm than good and is unlikely to achieve any significant impact on child pron.

      What a nation of paranoid nannies we're becoming.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        Wifi operators are not common carriers. They are legally responsible for what travels across their network.

        If someone uses your connection to view kiddie porn, the police will go after you. No change there... the defense of 'someone else was using my computer' has been used too often and they don't believe it any more.

        If you are insane enough to open your wifi then for gods sake setup a decent firewall and a proxy so you can log who's been viewing what, otherwise you could find yourself at the wrong end o
        • by ktappe (747125) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @11:45AM (#21597663)

          If you are insane enough to open your wifi then for gods sake setup a decent firewall and a proxy so you can log who's been viewing what, otherwise you could find yourself at the wrong end of the law. There is no change there, either.. this law changes nothing.
          I'm not sure I can disagree more. First of all, the moment you install a logging proxy, you suddenly become legally responsible for constantly monitoring those logs. Authorities are sure as shootin' gonna ask why you didn't if this law is brought to bear. "Your honor, the logs were right there. He invoked them himself. All he had to do was LOOK to save teh children!" and you're totally screwed.

          Next, there are some very valid reasons for there to be open WiFi access points. All coffee joints and hip restaurants in any given town have them, and they should. It is "a good thing"(tm). Unfounded fear of pron should not take away one of the best sociological innovations of our era, and you should not be advocating that it does.

    • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:52AM (#21596859) Journal
      From the actual Bill:

      " (a) Duty To Report-

                              `(1) IN GENERAL- Whoever, while engaged in providing an electronic communication service or a remote computing service to the public through a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, obtains actual knowledge of any facts or circumstances described in paragraph (2) shall, as soon as reasonably possible--

                                          `(A) complete and maintain with current information a registration with the CyberTipline of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or any successor to the CyberTipline operated by such center, by providing the mailing address, telephone number, facsimile number, electronic mail address of, and individual point of contact for, such electronic communication service provider or remote computing service provider; and

                                          `(B) make a report of such facts or circumstances to the CyberTipline, or any successor to the CyberTipline operated by such center.

                              `(2) FACTS OR CIRCUMSTANCES- The facts or circumstances described in this paragraph are any facts or circumstances that appear to indicate a violation of--

                                          `(A) section 2251, 2251A, 2252, 2252A, 2252B, or 2260 that involves child pornography; or

                                          `(B) section 1466A."

      Basically, if you are operating a Wi-Fi service, and find out that one of your users is downloading or uploading child porn, you are responsible for reporting it. What part of that is controversial?

  • by Kranfer (620510) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:17AM (#21596393) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't it be easier to mandate to the companies that make the wifi access points to mandate customer education on locking their routers down with WEP of WPA or something along the lines of tin foil around their house? However, $300,000 fine for an unknowing user having wireless and someone doing something criminal on it is just way too much. However, I can see Best buy taking advantage of it. New Geek Squad Commercial.... "Hire our Agents to encrypt your 802.11g, or lose your home!"
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PinkyDead (862370)
      The argument is always put that people who sponge free wifi should be prosecuted, under the analogy that leaving your front door open, doesn't mean people are entitled to steal from you.

      Now, right or wrong, we can see that this is a double edged sword.

      If you leave your front door open, and hookers and on-the-run criminals move in, then you'll probably go to jail for running a brothel or harboring a fugative (etc).

      Can't have it every way.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sm62704 (957197)
        The argument is always put that people who sponge free wifi should be prosecuted, under the analogy that leaving your front door open, doesn't mean people are entitled to steal from you.

        You can't steal it from me if I'm freely giving it away. An open wifi is not the same as an open front door. The analogy is rediculously stupid.

        If a bank robber uses my yard as part of his getaway route I should be prosecuted for not posting a "no tresspassing" sign, even if I don't care if people cut across my yard? WTF???
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:27AM (#21596529) Homepage Journal
      If you RTFA, it's not just WiFi providers the bill applies to, but to ISPs, social-networking sites, e-mail providers and more:

      That broad definition would cover individuals, coffee shops, libraries, hotels, and even some government agencies that provide Wi-Fi. It also sweeps in social-networking sites, domain name registrars, Internet service providers, and e-mail service providers such as Hotmail and Gmail, and it may require that the complete contents of the user's account be retained for subsequent police inspection.
      I just hope this gets stripped down by the courts. I mean, hello?! Isn't policing the job of, oh, I dunno...law enforcement officials, and not ISPs? This is like passing a law requiring the electric company to turn you in should they discover marijuana growing in your backyard when they check the meter!

      I think we should do what we did with the CDA. Everyone with a website should turn their pages to black the day this law gets passed.

      • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @11:02AM (#21597041) Journal
        And if you RTFB, you will see:

        (1) IN GENERAL- Whoever, while engaged in providing an electronic communication service or a remote computing service to the public through a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, obtains actual knowledge of any facts or circumstances described in paragraph (2) shall, as soon as reasonably possible--

        So, it does not require any actual monitoring. If monitoring does occur and you find a user d/ling child porn, you must report. If you think that we should shut down the internet for a day to protest this, you are nuts.
    • by ajs (35943) <ajs&ajs,com> on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:38AM (#21596675) Homepage Journal

      However, $300,000 fine for an unknowing user having wireless and someone doing something criminal on it is just way too much.
      No... you don't get it. The unknowing user whose home wifi got hijacked (or who mistakenly downloaded the wrong thing) goes to jail for a very long time and is systematically raped and tortured by the inmates for being a "child molester" only to have to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives when/if they get out, because of existing laws. It's the companies that can afford to mount a more coherent legal defense that this law will attack, and that's why the Slashdot blurb speaks about the economic impact on small, free WiFi operators. Oh, and it also makes community WiFi impractical, which just happens to benefit the phone companies who can afford to mount massive wiretapping operations to find and remove users with questionable content.

      This law is a fundamentally awful idea in every way, but it stands atop many, existing fundamentally awful laws.

      • Nope. The Bill itself applies to people who knowingly provide services, and have discovered their users engaged in child pornography AND do not report it. But here at Slashdot we prefer to have knee jerk reaction based on a poorly understood article summary based on a misrepresented article. There is absolutely, positively nothing wrong with the Bill.
  • Figures (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kpainter (901021) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:18AM (#21596409)

    the version that passed on a voice vote reportedly differs substantially from the last publicly available version

    It seems that this is the way congress works in general these days.
  • Stupid (Score:5, Informative)

    by DeeQ (1194763) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:19AM (#21596413)
    It seems stupid to me to hold them responsible for what goes over their networks. However Ron Paul voted no!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kilgortrout (674919)
      Please RTFA:

      Anyone providing an "electronic communication service" or "remote computing service" to the public who learns about the transmission or storage of information about certain illegal activities or an illegal image, must (a) register their name, mailing address, phone number, and fax number with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's "CyberTipline" and (b) "make a report" to the CyberTipline that (c) must include any information about the person or Internet address behind the suspect activity and (d) the illegal images themselves

      I don't see any monitoring requirements imposed by the bill as summarized in the article. As such, the bill imposes an obligation to report these activities only if you somehow learn about them, i.e. you can't knowingly allow these activities on your network without reporting them. That's a lot different than holding network operators responsible for what goes over the network, whether they know or not.

  • Crap like this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by idontgno (624372) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:19AM (#21596417) Journal

    makes me wish I hadn't had children, so that common sense and basic liberty wouldn't be taken hostage in their names.

    But then rationality returns to me and I wish that the parents of those tards in Congress hadn't had children.

    Sorry, that was unnecessarily harsh and unfair to the mentally retarded, comparing them to Congress.

    • by MarkGriz (520778)
      "But then rationality returns to me and I wish that the parents of those tards in Congress hadn't had children"

      I tend to agree, but keep in mind there is no shortage of morons to replace them.
  • Bombs won't do it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gordonjcp (186804) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:22AM (#21596449) Homepage
    America will *legislate* itself into the Stone Age.
  • by cbiltcliffe (186293) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:23AM (#21596469) Homepage Journal
    Regardless of the sheer idiocy of this bill, is it even remotely enforceable? Around here, probably 35% of wireless networks are open. (This is in Canada, but I can't imagine the US would be much different.) I'd guess from my wardriving excursions that more than half of households in my city have wireless access points. So if you're making a law that automatically criminalizes 20% of your population, isn't there something wrong?
    I realize the answer to that question is "Yes," and that's how the US government works. Make laws to make most people criminals, then when we throw them in the slammer, we can show the sheep^W people how tough we are on crime in election years.
    But really...are you going to have cops driving around residential areas stopping at every other house handing out tickets for $300,000 fines?

    Seriously, your country is fscked up.
    • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @11:11AM (#21597175) Journal
      Nope. The actual Bill simply states that if you run an oipen access service and realize that a user is using it for child porn that you MUST report it. In fact, the Bill goes as far as to say:
      " `(f) Protection of Privacy- Nothing in this section shall be construed to require an electronic communication service provider or a remote computing service provider to--

                              `(1) monitor any user, subscriber, or customer of that provider;

                              `(2) monitor the content of any communication of any person described in paragraph (1); or

                              `(3) affirmatively seek facts or circumstances described in subsection (a)(2)."

      So, if you don't monitor, you are not in trouble. I realize the article made incorrect statements about the Bill, but the Bill itself is, at worst, ineffective, not Orwellian.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CodeBuster (516420)
        So, if you don't monitor, you are not in trouble

        So just don't monitor anything. Who would want to assume this massive liability of monitoring in exchange for nothing other than being a "good citizen"? This is yet another example of a law which drives citizens to take an out of sight out of mind approach to their lives and makes the very criminal activity that it is attempting to control more likely than it otherwise would have been. Nobody wants to be the messenger when the messenger makes a convenient
    • by Ddalex (647089) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @11:12AM (#21597197)
      Maybe you oversee the legislative scope of any wanna-be-dictatorship government: to make everyone a criminal so they always be vulnerable some sort of seemingly-legal over-punishment. But not make any law extremely broad because people would notice it and rebel - like it is the case now; no, you have to work in small steps, so when a ludicrously low gets passed, the majority don't bother checking - after all, if the majority isn't concerned, who's gonna fight you ? (not vote you in office next elections). And proceed as needed to get all the population under the expanding umbrella of this para-legal system.

      As anyone with experience living in ex-communist country, I can tell you this system works well. You, as government, don't have to actually prosecute (! or even accuse !) everybody, just make sure that your people know anybody can get stepped over at government's will, without much harm to others (so not to be forced to organize themselves against you), because it's impossible to live a normal live and not cross an absurd law with extensive consequences.
      • MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MattW (97290)
        The shackles of tyranny are engraved with the phrase, "Do it for the children." (The other side reads, "Do it for your safety.")
    • What sheer idiocy? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ToasterMonkey (467067) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @11:46AM (#21597691) Homepage
      You are already required [smith-lawfirm.com] to report cases of child abuse in most states.

      The article mentions this existing law...
      http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode42/usc_sec_42_00013032----000-.html [cornell.edu]
      No monitoring requirements, no evidence preservation, weak, etc.
      So, you already have to report known cases.

      This bill [loc.gov], or is it this [loc.gov] one.. is a lot more specific.

      The only new monitoring requirement is that a court may require convicted child abusers to use a monitored internet connection and the provider will get an extra $50 a month.
      Here's another useful tidbit..
      `(f) Protection of Privacy- Nothing in this section shall be construed to require an electronic communication service provider or a remote computing service provider to--
      `(1) monitor any user, subscriber, or customer of that provider;
      `(2) monitor the content of any communication of any person described in paragraph (1); or
      `(3) affirmatively seek facts or circumstances described in subsection (a)(2).

      I'm confused by the different versions too, but what is all the fuss over? I don't see where this will have any real impact on commercial WiFi providers, or individuals.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by moeinvt (851793)
      "Regardless of the sheer idiocy of this bill, is it even remotely enforceable?"

      It couldn't be "universally" enforced, but it could definitely be "selectively" enforced.

  • by Timberwolf0122 (872207) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:27AM (#21596533) Journal
    And someone stole my car and used it in a crime I would be (under that logic) liable for that crime too?

    Running an unsecured WiFi is not a smart idea but we can't punish people for being stupid otherwise many of my friends would spend there lives in jail.
  • by IAR80 (598046)
    I wonder who were the 2 that voted against! :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Pode (892717)
      Ron Paul, and one other Republican. Yet again, Ron shows that he's one of the only people in government that doesn't deserve to be spat upon.
    • by bhmit1 (2270)

      I wonder who were the 2 that voted against! :)
      FTA:

      Not one Democrat opposed the SAFE Act. Two Republicans did: Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian-leaning presidential candidate from Texas, and Rep. Paul Broun from Georgia.
  • It's human nature (Score:3, Insightful)

    by techpawn (969834) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:29AM (#21596545) Journal
    It's human nature to fear and try to destroy what you don't understand.

    I think we all remember "It's a series of tubes" and these are the people deciding how the future generations will use it because they wanted to "protect" them? Protecting children is what parents are for. When we where kids we played in the streets with rusty metal and no one cared. Now child services would be called on our parents.
  • Huh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by faloi (738831) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:29AM (#21596547)
    the Democratic leadership rushed the SAFE Act to the floor under a procedure that's supposed to be reserved for noncontroversial legislation.

    Is it any wonder that their approval rating is in the tank? All this talk of transparency in government, and they pull oddball stunts like this.
  • by tomandlu (977230)

    Reading the article, it doesn't look like it has much in the way of teeth with respect to Wi-Fi. There is no indication that you are required to monitor the wi-fi connection for such material, or, that in the absence of any such monitoring, that you would be responsible.

  • WTH Hentai? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    From TFA:

    But it also includes photographs of fully clothed minors in overly "lascivious" poses, and certain obscene visual depictions including a "drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting." (Yes, that covers the subset of anime called hentai).

    Since when did *hentai* ever harm children?

    Oh, please think of the E-children, please!!
  • Oblig. Ron Paul (Score:5, Informative)

    by JeepFanatic (993244) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:29AM (#21596557)

    Not one Democrat opposed the SAFE Act. Two Republicans did: Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian-leaning presidential candidate from Texas, and Rep. Paul Broun from Georgia.
    I knew when I saw the two votes against that one would be Ron Paul.
    • Re:Oblig. Ron Paul (Score:4, Insightful)

      by richarddshank (842901) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:58AM (#21596971) Homepage
      It has become quite obvious that he is the only presidential candidate that is interested in our individual rights. It was disgusting to watch the CNN/YouTube debate which just turned into a pissing contest between the "top" 4 candidates, while the other candidates just stood by and watched. If you don't know about Paul, watch this interview at Google. Its a little long, but you'll get an idea of who the man really is. http://youtube.com/watch?v=yCM_wQy4YVg [youtube.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dada21 (163177)
      Paul Broun ran on a "Ron Paul" ticket for Georgia and won based on those views. No doubt he's a decent politician (if I can use those terms).

      Article about his Paul-like ideals [opinionjournal.com]

      Maybe the Republic IS moving towards more freedom and less tyranny. 400 more like these guys and I may actually shut up about 70% of my gripes. Not all, but most.
  • Read The Bill.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chris_Jefferson (581445) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:30AM (#21596579) Homepage
    OK, I don't claim this is a good bill. However, it only refers to people who "learns about the transmission or storage of information about certain illegal activities or an illegal image". Therefore free Wi-Fi operators are fine. Never look at what people are doing on your Wi-Fi, and you are fine. This could almost be good in some ways, as ISPs who sniff traffic could end up with much more work, while those who leave well alone will be fine.
  • Sorry, but I do not trust cnet news blurbs. Can someone post the text of the Bill itself?
  • by Jehosephat2k (562701) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:31AM (#21596589)
    The purpose of this law is to provide more legal means for government and corporations to monitor everyone's internet traffic.

    Remember, whenever these people say "it's for the children", there is a more insidious motive behind it.

    If they just said that they were going to require monitoring everyone's Internet traffic, there would be an uproar. But, if it is to find kiddie porn, well, then hell yeah, 409-2! Same effect. One really has to wonder what percentage of traffic will actually have these offending files. This will require serious scrutiny to find anything. Game, set, match.

  • by StickyWidget (741415) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:33AM (#21596615)

    the SAFE Act's additional requirement of retaining all the suspect's personal files if the illegal images are "commingled or interspersed" with other data.

    So, let me get this straight. If a pedophile starts up an open Wi-Fi access point, then he connects to it with a laptop that can't be traced to him, he can monitor the traffic, and save all the images that go across the wire. Then he tosses the laptop, reports it, and then he has a perfectly legal excuse as to why he's holding kiddie porn on his computer.

    I. Call. Bull. Shit.

    ~Sticky
    /First, all the politicians.
    //Then, the lawyers.
    ///Then, the pedophiles.

  • by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare@NoSpaM.gmail.com> on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:33AM (#21596621) Homepage Journal
    will be the stupidity of the "think of the children" motivation for any laws, and how fundamentally flawed that concept is. and i agree

    however, the same slashdot crowd will kvetch about computer noobs running wifi without any security, not even weak wep. i can look for wifi near my apartment and list about 5 such open connections, as could a lot of slashdotters anywhere in the country, or the world. and i myself have used such open connections to suck down pirate media (and you know that the next logical extension of "think of the children" is "think of the starving music executive"), as have some slashdotters here i bet

    so the security-minded slashdot crowd will say you need wpa at least and encrypt everything that goes over the air anyways (and limit access by mac addresses, and block unnecessary ports, etc.)

    ok, fine. well an insane law like this is the only thing that will get us such a world. i'm sorry, but that's the truth

    what i'm saying is, noobs can not be motivated to be careful, unless the penalties are severe. in fact, the penalties are fundamentally unjust and insane must be to force such motivation on noobs to stop being careless and lazy and uneducate don the issue. i bet a lot of them even know all about the issue, but are just too lazy to configure their set up

    so take your pick slashdot:

    1. insane law, sane security practices
    2. sane legislators, insane security lapses

    you can't have both in this world with today's wifi technology

    i'm not saying this dichotomy is correct, i am just saying it is reality
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765)
      Except you misunderstand the law passed in extreme. IF YOU SPY ON YOUR USERS you are liable, otherwise no. So if you open up your wireless this bill in effect criminalizes spying on the traffic.

      Which, to me, seems very reasonable, and perhaps even positive.

      You already *are* guilty if you neglect to report crimes you know about (no not copyright infringement, which is exempt from this).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by imgod2u (812837)
      Please get it through your head. There is a *HUGE* difference between wanting people to secure their WiFi and wanting THE GOVERNMENT to pass A LAW requiring it. It boggles the mind how people are unable to grasp such a vital distinction.

      I think men should not be allowed to wear spandex. Let's make a law about it!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jvkjvk (102057)

      so take your pick slashdot:

      1. insane law, sane security practices
      2. sane legislators, insane security lapses

      I can't believe that you are a proponent of laws to fix technical issues, but that does appear what you're going for with this post.

      ok, fine. well an insane law like this is the only thing that will get us such a world. i'm sorry, but that's the truth

      It is my belief that as soon as laws catch up with technology this will be true, uh, wait! the law will never catch up with technology! So you end up with a bunch of insane laws and insane security lapses. Wonderful.

      The only good thing about a law like this is that it gives the government one more thing to put the hammer down on a large subset of the population and provide

  • by presarioD (771260) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:36AM (#21596651)
    WTF??? There is such a thing as an "illegal image"???? I must have missed the memo... next thing you know, there will be "illegal sounds" and "illegal ideas"! LOL! This planet is getting more and more fucked up by the day and nobody seems to notice...in fact watch the answers to this post, people will be quick to point out how this is perfectly normal...for example (drum rolling, music peaks) a child being molested is an "illegal image"!!! You see now, bozo?

    Go ahead and explain now the difference between an "act" and the "image of an act"... oh dear time for a coffee break...

  • If I'm reading this correctly, this law only becomes an issue if you know about traffic in illegal images on your Wi Fi network. The practical upshot of this is that if you want to run an open Wi Fi point, you need to be sure you don't look at the traffic. Don't run a packet sniffer or a NIDS.
  • I am going to bet the majority of the people voting on this bill have an open wireless network and don't even know it.

    But I somehow doubt they'll be the ones paying the $300,000 fines.

  • Nobody like chilkd pornography, but child pornograpy and "terrorism" are used to limit free speech. Nobody likes censorship.

    The really bad guys will hide in encryption and other privacy protection technology. In 2 years this law will be abused to use this law against common criminals like downloading music( sarcasm?). It is the letter of the law that counts.

    But they did think correct about including forbidding computer generated images. There were reports that very lifelike stuff was created, where the boun
    • At that point though aren't you pretty much making it a thought crime? Real kids get hurt in kiddy porn. Some wac job spending all day making life like images from his imagination and sending it out to his sic friends is nasty but does not injure anybody. Maybe it's just me I do not like laws that make crimes without any obvious victims.

      Maybe when we get some real leaders in politics we might get sensible laws but that requires people not be sheep because the sheep vote for whoever they think will stop th
  • please see that he gets my name.

    _somewhere_ there has to be a society for responsible, sane people.
  • Think of the Adolescents!

    -Grey [silverclipboard.com]
  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:46AM (#21596757)
    Ferinstance: Somone sends a Windows DRMed video over my Linux AP and I don't have a CODEC for it so I cannot view it since it is just a jumble of bits. Is that stream of bits a picture?
  • by lpangelrob (714473) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:50AM (#21596827)
    Sounds like it's time to celebrate Obscene Images Over Open Wireless Networks Day!

    A link to goatse and the best wardriving software on the web... stat!
  • by urcreepyneighbor (1171755) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @10:50AM (#21596833)
    it's sure to pass!

    How could you vote against something called the "SAFE Act"?

    That would be like voting against something called the "USA PATRIOT Act"!
  • I wonder if this applies to home networks that are wide open. How would a home user be expected to monitor traffic at that level? Another point (perhaps more valid) is this. Will companies with open wireless networks now simply lock them down so that they're no longer open, to avoid having to deal with this?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dragonslicer (991472)

      I wonder if this applies to home networks that are wide open. How would a home user be expected to monitor traffic at that level?
      They aren't, and this bill doesn't require them to.
  • While it's a completely stupid idea and will leave liable every non-technical dolt who sets up an open router, perhaps those of us with technical capability could do our part by reporting these images. Since the definition of obscenity varies by community standards, and I would hate to miss something that just has to be reported, the safest thing might just to be to report all images as they pass through your system to a wifi connected computer. Dedicate an old system to capturing all images as they pass to
  • Age (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Emperor Tiberius (673354) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @11:05AM (#21597087) Homepage
    Did you know that the average age of the representatives is 55? I often wonder if age's impact on someone's familiarity with technology plays a role in some of these voting sessions.
  • Overreaction (Score:3, Informative)

    by Quila (201335) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @01:50PM (#21599641)
    If you don't monitor then you don't have any responsibility to report.
  • Cool (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @02:37PM (#21600455) Homepage Journal
    Now when will they start fining the ISP for delivering it to the access point and not reporting about the request for the 'bad' data? Cant have that pesky information passing thru unmolested can we?

    Today kiddy porn, tomorrow 'dissident' knowledge.

    Be afraid.

"If you want to eat hippopatomus, you've got to pay the freight." -- attributed to an IBM guy, about why IBM software uses so much memory

Working...