Yesterday, as the American public was distracted by the drama over whether the debt ceiling will be raised, the House Judiciary Committee met to consider H.R. 1981 – a bill that would force private internet service providers to help the government conduct surveillance on the personal Internet activities of the American people. H.R. 1981 would require internet service companies to keep records on all the online activities of their customers. Under the Patriot Act, these records could be seized and searched by the government without any search warrant. It wouldn’t just be criminal suspects whose online activities could be searched. Every American who uses the Internet – even children – would be included in the system.
Zoe Lofgren introduced an amendment to the bill that would have prevented the records from linking personal information such as name, address and telephone number to ISP addresses, but that amendment was defeated. As it exists, H.R. 1981 would require the linkage of all our online activities to our names and other personal information. This, in turn, would enable government intelligence agents to search through its massive databases of online activities, collected under the FISA Amendments Act, by citizen name, address or telephone number. That’s in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee of protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
The roll call of the vote in the House Judiciary Committee on this bill was as follows:
In favor of H.R. 1981’s expansion of online surveillance through private internet service providers:
Lamar Smith, Howard Coble, Elton Gallegly, Bob Goodlatte, Dan Lungren, Steve Chabot, Randy Forbes, Steve King, Trent Franks, Tim Griffin, Thomas Marino, Trey Gowdy, Dennis Ross, Sandy Adams, Howard Berman, Sheila Jackson Lee, Pedro Pierluisi, Mike Quigley, Ted Deutch
In opposition to H.R. 1981’s expansion of online surveillance through private internet service providers: