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Sunday, September 24, 2023

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Legislators push to record Internet activity


Two Texas Republican legislators filed the Internet Safety Act on Feb. 19, which aims to require all Internet providers – including millions of Wi-Fi operators such as hotels, coffee shops and home users – to keep users records for two years to aid police investigations. ‘

U.S.’ Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Lamar Smith said they agreed the bill is necessary to assist federal and local investigations of missing and exploited children and to keep track of repeat offenders convicted of sexually exploiting minors.’

‘While the Internet has generated many positive changes in the way we communicate and do business, its limitless nature offers anonymity that has opened the door to criminals looking to harm innocent children,’ Cornyn said at a press conference on Feb. 19. ‘Keeping our children safe requires cooperation on the local, state, federal and family level.’

Democrats are reaching across the isle on this issue. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in the press conference that FBI proposals for data retention legislation ‘would be most welcome.’

This new law will not only be limited to large providers such as Comcast Corp. and AT&T, but also the millions of homes with Wi-Fi access points or password-protected routers. The law would also be applied to individuals, small businesses, large corporations, libraries, schools, universities and government agencies. Voice over Internet Protocol services may be subject as well.

Any form of electronic communication will have potential for surveillance for any sexual or pornographically related material relating to minors.’

‘This is a good idea, I’ll give them that, but I still feel that I will be violated by the government checking my stuff,’ accounting graduate student Imran Kidwai said. ‘I don’t think this will pass either. It’s almost like an invasion of privacy, and I know they tried to pass something like this a few years ago.’

In 2006, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tried to pass similar legislation to log Internet usage every two years. Under the Bush Administration, the proposal was not favored until the European Parliament approved oversight requirements for many communicational methods.’

Although many people believe this could help authorities, some’ say that they feel it violates their trust and privacy. ‘

‘It’s a breach of privacy, it creates mistrust or bad trust between citizens and their government. From an IT perspective, the logistics in doing this, from storage to even knowing the actual person using the internet, is huge,’ information system technology senior Aamil Noorani said. ‘The best way for the government to store it is to pass a law requiring the (Internet service provider) companies to store the information so it saves the government from doing it.’


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