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Internet Safety Act could affect home Wi-Fi users

updated 11:25 pm EST, Sun February 22, 2009

Home Wi-Fi users affected?

Two Texas-based US representatives have introduced bills that would require ISPs to store user information for two years. The bills may even require home wi-fi router users to track the same information, according to Macworld. The bills were introduced Thursday, one in the US Senate, by Rep. Senator John Cornyn, and in the House by Representative Lamar Smith. Each bill is called the Internet Safety Act, aimed at preventing child pornography via the Internet. The bills call for stronger penalties for accessing child pornography on the Internet and would require Internet and e-mail service providers to retain all records and related information about anyone using a network address temporarily assigned by the service.

Retention would apply to any provider of "an electronic communication service or remote computing service," as well as someone who receives the content and recipient list of e-mail messages that it "transmits, receives, or stores," according to the text of the Senate bill. Cornyn and Smith said the law would require ISPs to hold on to subscriber records similar to those retained by telecommunications carriers. ISPs today are required to preserve any information related to specific communications on their networks that are involved in a criminal investigation for 90, which can be renewed for as much as six months to obtain a court order to seize the information as evidence.

The Internet Safety Act would order service providers to store personal information about their customers simply on the chance they are later accused of a crime. Depending on the interpretation of the new bills, private citizens and enterprises with wireless networks, even those with password-protection, would need hard drives to store data on every user who utilizes on the network.
The bills are currently limited to Republican support at a time when Democrats control the House and Senate, so expectations are for failure of the bill.

by MacNN Staff



  1. SierraDragon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    TX Republicans

    What is it with the Republican party that they feel this need to constantly try to compromise privacy?

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I suspect a small SD card could probably keep a record of every connection to a home WiFi network over a 2 year period - but it does open an interesting prospect of making existing equipment illegal.

  1. jfelbab

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nothing better to do?

    These legislators have so much time on their hands now that the economic problems of the country are all solved that they have time to regulate this critical issue.

    Texas voters, remember these guys.

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "Won't somebody please think of the children!"

    If this is their intent for the law, I'd like to see an amendment, then, that would require (a) a public search warrant to retrieve the data, and (b) limitations such that only crimes of child pornography are allowed. No "Well, we think we have a terrorist" or "Hey, check it out, I think I found someone illegally sharing a song!"

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    a criminal investigation.

    ....FOR 90 WHAT ?

    MacNN ?

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Politicians are so clueless when it comes to technology.

  1. sailin74

    Joined: Dec 1969



    to buy more stock in the hard drive manufactures and database keepers. "Um, yeah, we'd like you to retain everything that happens on the Internet for two years, and um we'd like to search it all."

  1. b9robot

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Privacy Issue!!! Costs?

    This is actually the most ridiculous idea that would cost everyone a lot of money!!!

  1. boris_cleto

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Nothing but wingnut posturing. "The Democrat party hates the children".

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I just love politicians on both sides of the aisles. Conservatives have no problem coming up with ways to violate people's privacy out of "concern" for security and the moral character of the country, but start talking about background checks and registration requirements for guns, and it's all of a sudden a constitutional issue. (I guess since the constitution prohibits "illegal search AND seizure", as long as they either search or seize, it's OK).

    And the democrats. Oh, don't get me started...

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