The U.S. Representatives who have created and pushed forward H.R. 1981 claim that the legislation’s extreme spying powers are needed to fight child pornographers. That’s why they’ve named the bill the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act. H.R. 1981 would require all Internet service providers to keep records of all the activities of every American on the Internet for an entire year, and to provide those records to government investigators upon request. The records would have to be kept in such a way that the activities would be traceable to particular people, not just to abstract ISP addresses.
That’s a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection from unreasonable search and seizure. Yet, the supporters of H.R. 1981 say, it’s necessary to have the government watching all Americans online, because such powers are needed to stop child pornographers.
That argument was deflated today when federal investigators announced that they had broken up a child pornography ring, with criminal charges against 72 members of the ring, and more to come. This arrest came without the new government spying powers that would come with the creation of H.R. 1981.
H.R. 1981 isn’t necessary. The government has proven that it already has what it takes to find child pornographers and bring them to justice. There’s no need to treat us all as if we’re child pornography suspects, and keep all Americans under constant watch from Big Brother.