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Gonzales Wants ISP Data Retention To Curb Child Porn 454

Posted by kdawson
from the activate-the-constitutional-rootkit dept.
$RANDOMLUSER writes, "The AP is reporting that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified before the Senate Banking Committee today and called for Congress to require ISPs to preserve customer records, asserting that prosecutors need them to fight child pornography. 'This is a problem that requires federal legislation,' Gonzales said. He called the government's lack of access to customer data the biggest obstacle to deterring child porn. 'We respect civil liberties but we have to harmonize this so we can get more information,' he said." Gonzales added that he agrees with a letter sent to Congress in June by 49 state attorneys general, requesting federal legislation to require ISPs to hold onto customer data longer.
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Gonzales Wants ISP Data Retention To Curb Child Porn

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  • by fragmentate (908035) * <jdspilled@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:20PM (#16142098) Journal

    I'm all for catching the distributors of child pornography. I hope they find all the freaks exploiting these children.

    However, I know that they never stop there. If they have the information they won't use it for just investigating cases of child pornography. Furthermore, I don't trust their techniques of catching the predators.

    Many years ago (1998, or 1999) there was a crackdown on the alt.binaries.erotica.* groups to catch distributors of child pornography. Instead, what they did is arrest hundreds of people victimized by the distributors. Sure, many of those hundreds were intentionally seeking pictures of children. But many others were falsely accused because they blindly downloaded "all new articles."

    The way this happened was quite simple... Much like the spambots of today, these distributors taint many, many groups with their filth. It's a sort of scorched earth policy, perhaps. Regardless, I don't trust the government to know the difference between the incidental versus the intentional.

    The primary reason being the weapon they would potentially wield against people that choose to speak out...

    "Oh, look, in 2002 you downloaded DSC_1000.JPG from a newsgroup, and it was depicting an unclothed child... LOCK 'EM UP!"

    Privacy protects the innocent too, you know...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:26PM (#16142156)
      The government wants to keep a copy of everything you do online in case it needs to check to find out if you did something it doesn't like. Kiddie porn today, advocating voting rights for immigrants tomorrow. Once the data is there, it can be subpeonaed, for whatever legal reason a Bush-appointed judge signs off on. Reading Trotsky? The government will know. Reading about particle physics on Amazon? You must be building weapons of mass destruction. When Gonzalez says it's only for kiddie porn, he knows it's not true, because he's a lawyer.
      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @09:09PM (#16142831) Journal
        I'd gladly agree to this, prividng I can access to Gonzales' online records. Frankly, I think in the area of privacy, if a member of government isn't willing to disclose his own, then he shouldn't be allowed to ask for it from anyone else.

        After all, it's not as if Gonzales has anything to hide, right?
      • by elucido (870205) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @09:09PM (#16142832)
        Does the law really work in such a way where you can be supeonaed based on what link you clicked on? Shouldn't you arrest the person who created the link?

        If you arrest people simply for clicking links, and not the people who actually put the links on the internet, what stops a person from putting up links which say one thing but take you to somewhere else, then you get arrested? I mean a spam bot could arrange it so that everyone gets spammed with bogus links and then what?

        The way the internet is designed, you don't really know what you'll see at a link until after you see it. The only person who really knows, is the one who actually created the link in the first place.

        You may be correct, it likely is not just for kiddie porn, because if people can be arrested for just clicking on a link or downloading a file, it becomes impossible at that point to use the internet safely without falling for some sorta trap or clicking on some sorta link that is illegal to click on, hell a script could make you click on it, a virus could download stuff onto your computer and use it for storage, so you see this is basically ridiculous. This does not mean people will not try to make it the law, as laws don't have to make technical sense whatsoever, but due to how the internet is designed and the culture of the net, if a law like this passes everyone would be guilty, have you ever downloaded an mp3? Of course. Ever downloaded a movie without paying for it?

        You see, it's impossible to not be guilty when the crime is downloading. If the crime is uploading, then yes you should be guilty if distributing it is illegal.

        • by cgenman (325138) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:35PM (#16143264) Homepage
          For a fun exercise, try sending an HTML e-mail to the US Congress with an image of child pornography embedded. Bonus points if you're not a US citizen.

          By simply having checked their mail that day, every member of congress will have violated the law about recieving and posessing. Under the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 that subjects all of congress to a MANDATORY minimum sentence of 15 years.

          That, at least, would do a great deal of good for the country.

          • by AGMW (594303) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @06:47AM (#16144705) Homepage
            Something very similar happened in the UK a year or so back. Some new legislation was tabled that would mean it would be an offence to not provide the decryption key to data if it was suspected that the encrypted data contained evidence of a crime, and you were asked for the key. People told the Home Secretary that you might not know the key, etc, but the law was still going ahead.

            Someone committed a crime, verified by a lawyer, and the evidence was encrypted and emailed to the Home Secretary. He now was in possesion of evidence of a crime that was encrypted and he didn't know the decryption key.

            Unfortunately, he wasn't arrested and put in prison!

            It seems it's one rule for politicians and another for the rest of us!

        • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @12:04AM (#16143632)
          Give me 15 seconds access on your work or home computer and I can get you fired and likely put into prison for years with no evidence it was anyone but you.
      • by LordNightwalker (256873) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:42PM (#16143304)
        When Gonzalez says it's only for kiddie porn, he knows it's not true, because he's a lawyer.
        Absolutely; we all know how porn works. You don't just download it once, and then jack off to it indefinitely. You always need fresh material. So if you want to catch someone who downloaded kiddy porn once, just wait till he does it again. Just like us regular porn leechers the kiddy porn downloader also needs his regular fix. All you have to do to catch him is get a court order to sniff his traffic and wiretap his phone/cellphone, and sooner or later you'll catch him redhanded. Sure, you won't catch the guys who downloaded that stuff just once. Big deal; those guys probably downloaded it by accident (or perhaps out of curiosity); after checking out what the hell it was they downloaded in the first place, they found out it wasn't what they thought it was, or they weren't interested after all, and erased the crap.

        Or hey, how about you just get a court order to search the suspect's computers? Kiddy porn is far too hard to come by for those guys to just delete it after three wank sessions, and chances are you'll even find photos and magazines stashed away somewhere at his place. Same logic applies to the distributors btw; you can't distribute what you don't have.
        So there's really no reason to ask for longer data retention for the reasons quoted. That's just a cover story; I wonder what the real story is though...
        • by Jeff Molby (906283) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @12:37AM (#16143776)

          I'm completely against legislation like this, but in the interest of having a full discussion, I'll explain why they want this legislation.

          They don't intend to use this against people that they already suspect. Instead, they will identify sites containing illegal images/information and then subpoena the major ISPs for lists of users that have accessed any of those sites. This becomes their probable cause and then they resume normal investigation techniques to solidify their cases.

    • by VidEdit (703021) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:32PM (#16142192)
      Child porn is just an excuse. If protecting children was really the point, the proposed law would limit all subpoenas of data retained under this law to child porn cases. The law doesn't do that, ergo they are lying through their teeth.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:52PM (#16142342) Homepage Journal
        They're hardly even trying to come up with believable lies any more. They think they can just throw around the "protect the children" meme and we'll all just line up like good Christian Soldiers.

        There are a few boogiemen that never seem to fail those that would take our freedoms. Terrorists, Kiddie Porn, Welfare Moms, Liberals and Bill Clinton are some of the most reliable. A few decades ago it was "Satan Worshippers" "Communists" and "Castro" that were the standbys.

        Anybody else sick of this BS?
        • by shmlco (594907) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @08:15PM (#16142477) Homepage
          Unfortunately, we're not the ones that have to line up. All they have to do today is name the bill the "Child Protection Act of 2006" and most of the politician's hands are automatically tied. Vote against such a thing and you can bet that come next election your opponents will be touting your apparent love for child pornographers and child molesters in every television ad.

          "Jim Davis voted AGAINST a bill that would have protected CHILDREN from dangerous preditors and pedophiles..."
        • by DrJimbo (594231) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:18PM (#16143466)
          It's not meant to be a believable lie. It is a clever political ploy developed by Karl Rove. The people currently in the White House are desperate to keep Republican control of the House of Representatives. If the Democrats gain control of the House while Bush is still president, he is going to be investigated out the wazoo and many people close to him will face jail time.

          It is meant to be an unbelievable lie. It is meant to cause a reaction. Then Ken Mehlman can send out emails to the party faithful telling them how the evil, evil Democrats support child pornography. It was designed to get you riled up so they can use your reaction to inflame their base.

          If you think this sounds far fetched, I encourage you to get on the GOP email list. The person who had my email address before me was on it and I haven't unsubscribed. The only thing the Democrats have going for them is almost every single issue and that may not be enough. Things are bound to get very, very ugly.

    • Only those who distrust the Party need to have Privacy, comrade!

      Are you questioning the God Emperor?
      • Only those who distrust the Party need to have Privacy, comrade!

        Are you questioning the God Emperor?

        Woah, woah, woah, there, pal. You're confusing Orwell and Herbert. What the hell does the Tyrant have to do with Big Brother?

    • I don't see how tracking everything on the internet fights childporn. If every owner of a camera had to register their camera to use it, or if anyone who hooks it up to the computer after taking pictures could be tracked, you could figure out exactly where the pictures came form.

      However, if it's just about searching all ISP's in the world, I just don't think that it's believeable that it would be for child porn. Child porn comes from cameras, not the internet itself, so whoever is putting these pictures on
    • *What* child porn? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mangu (126918) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @09:35PM (#16142974)
      I hope they find all the freaks exploiting these children.


      I agree. I'm all for catching the scumbags who exploit children.


      However, there's a question that keeps nagging me every time I see mentions of this so-called "child porn" in the internet. What's exactly that "child porn" people keep mentioning? I get hundreds of unwanted emails every day. I have lost count of all the pornography I have seen in the internet. Yet I never saw one single picture of a child engaged in sex!


      Well, I have seen plenty of images that some people call "child porn", but those are merely pictures of young women who could be of any age between 15 and 30 with shaved pubic hair and small breasts. Anorexic women who have their pictures taken when they are 25 years old do not count as "child porn" in my book.


      Here's one simple rather provoking concept: what if the true perverts are smart enough to avoid putting the images of their acts on the internet? How many videos of bank robberies and drug sales get published in the internet? What makes you feel that paedophiles would be more stupid than other criminals?


      I think the police would be more successful in catching perverts if they tried to investigate the typical acts of perverts instead of insisting on that rather sickly curiosity about the acts of honest internet citizens...

  • by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:20PM (#16142101) Homepage
    "Child Porn"
  • We all know that this is just a ploy so they can spy on you... "Please, think of the children!" seems to be the most abused reasoning for spying... it's just bs that anyone would buy this. Maybe if they told isp's to record anything that looked like anything related to kiddy porn it would be ok, but this is absolute bullshit.
    • It's not a total lie - he is strongly against pornography, and I'm sure if he gets the power he's trying to grab here he'll be sure to use some of it for investigating child porn.

      But that's not what this is about, and I'm insulted (if not surprised) that he's being so blatant.

    • by User 956 (568564) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:40PM (#16142254) Homepage
      We all know that this is just a ploy so they can spy on you... "Please, think of the children!" seems to be the most abused reasoning for spying... it's just bs that anyone would buy this.

      And their logic is always "If you don't have anything to hide, you don't have anything to worry about". To which I say, "If I don't have anything to hide, why do they need to spy on me?"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by elucido (870205)
      The reason it's BS is because it does not really do anything to catch the uploaders. I mean, the best way to catch the uploaders is to work with Microsoft, and make it so every camera has indentity information. It's really simply, if Microsoft can make it difficult to download mp3s on their OS, and do this gunuine advantage, you are telling me they can't rig the camera phones and digital cameras to the exact computer that the first pictures were uploaded to?

      We all know, that these cameras should be used res
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Phroggy (441) *
        There are plenty of good reasons why it's very important for citizens to be able to anonymously take and distribute photographs. Not of naked children, of course, but (for example) police officers inappropriately beating someone, or anything else where someone with authority is abusing their position. We must be guaranteed the right to free and anonymous speech and press (and I submit that photography fits in there), because if it can't be anonymous it isn't truly free.
  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:22PM (#16142113)
    ..."we respect civil liberties, but..." you know the next part is going to be bad.

    Its almost like "I'm not a racist, but..."
    • I love the whole thing:
      "We respect civil liberties but we have to harmonize this so we can get more information," he said.
      What the does that even mean? "Harmonize." Laughable. What will be harmonized by forcing ISPs to log all subscriber information?
    • by Mydron (456525)
      Gonzalas respects civil liberties like he respects the Geneva conventions [americanprogress.org]. Qaint [bbc.co.uk].
      • by Eccles (932)
        Gonzales makes something happened that I thought simply couldn't happen; he made me miss John Ashcroft. Even his singing!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tenton (181778)
      Any time you need to qualify a statement with a disclaimer up front, just keep your mouth shut.

      "No disrespect intended, but" means someone is about to get disrespected.

      "No offense, but" means something offensive is about to follow.

      "I'm not a racist, but" means something racist is about to be said.

      "we respect civil liberties, but" means some civil liberties are about to be disrespected.
  • "Harmonize" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:23PM (#16142128)
    Interesting bit of Newspeak there...
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:29PM (#16142168)
    Especially abusing them for more political power.
  • Which was the hold-out state?

    Why does "harmonization" always mean bringing everyones laws into line with the one which provides for the most disadvantage to the most people?
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:32PM (#16142193)
    From TFA: "We need information. Information helps us makes cases."
    - Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez.

    Number 6: Where am I?
    Number 2: In the Village.
    Number 6: What do you want?
    Number 2: We want information.
    Number 6: Whose side are you on?
    Number 2: That would be telling.
    We want information... information... information.
    Number 6: You won't get it.
    Number 2: By hook or by crook, we will.

    Come to think of it...

    Number Six: Everybody votes for a dictator.

    ...and also...

    Chessmaster: "You must be new here. In time, most of us join the enemy - against ourselves."

    I guess it takes a village to raise a Prisoner as well as a Child.

    The thing I miss most about the Republican wing of the Party is the wing that asked questions like "What would the Democrat wing of the Party do with these powers?"

    I just wonder how long the Democrat wing of the Party that's currently asking these sorts of questions will last when they're handed power in 2008?

  • In Soviet America (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:32PM (#16142195) Homepage Journal
    everyone loves having all their Internet records made available to Commissar for spying on our personal lives, because we are all in loving with our Comrade Bush and his Politburo and know they would never lie to us!
  • Massive Cost (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jay2003 (668095) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:33PM (#16142201)
    Retaining records of web access is going to cost millions of dollars at the largest ISPs since these records over two years will amount to pedabytes of information. Many ISPs do not even have the records that Gonzales is looking for since gathering this kind of extensive information usually requires a transparent proxy of web traffic. I suppose that ISPs could save DNS records only but that's trivally easy to avoid by using other DNS servers and probably nowhere near enough big brother for Gonzales.

    I'm appalled at the invasion of privacy. Practical side of this bad idea is very troublesome as well. Gonzales must think there is data retension fairy that will do all of this for him.
  • As long as they tack on an amendment that the information retained can only be used in child pornography cases*. But of course that would go against their true motive, spying on ordinary Americans.

    *You say "What about terrorism?" well add another line that includes "threats of imminent terrorist acts". Of course the Republicans would cry foul, declare that such a line is too vague and doesn't give the agents in the field the right tools to fight terrorism. Which means "anyone could be a terrorist so we must
  • by isaac (2852) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:38PM (#16142246)
    Gonzales added that he agrees with a letter sent to Congress in June by 49 state attorneys general, requesting federal legislation to require ISPs to hold onto customer data longer.

    Who was the lone holdout state attorney general who didn't sign on to this executive branch power grab? I'd like to consider moving to that state.

    -Isaac

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Jim Logajan (849124)
      Here's the link to that letter: http://www.atg.wa.gov/releases/2006/Documents/DRLe tter.pdf [wa.gov] Oregon and Minnesota appear to be missing (but I have only done a quick scan). They got to 49 by including several territories.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Jim Logajan (849124)
        Oops - the AG of Oregon did sign. I missed it because I thought all the states were listed alphabetically - not the case on the first signature page.
      • by Dausha (546002)
        "They got to 49 by including several territories."

        I saw only American Samoa, Puerto Rico, VI and D.C. as non-states listed. That means _three_ territories and a federal district. Not exactly "several." Regardless, 49 is still a significant number, especially considering that SCOTUS will reject a method of execution when only 13 states still employ it. So, if SCOTUS can engage in a political decision with only 13 states, then why can't Congress legislate at the request of 49 Attorneys General?

        I checked to ma
    • by Jim Logajan (849124) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @08:09PM (#16142434)
      If I got this right, it appears the attorney generals who didn't sign were in Guam, Indiana, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Northern Marianas, Palua, and Virginia. Okay - you say some of those aren't states? Well, neither are American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands, yet those were included in the list of alleged "49 state attorney generals" who signed the letter. Source: http://www.atg.wa.gov/releases/2006/Documents/DRLe tter.pdf [wa.gov]
  • whenever I hear a government official (any official, from any government) use the word "harmonize", I want to go hide. It usually means "let's get this area of really bad law in sync with this other area of really bad law." Gagh.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:45PM (#16142298)
    Gonzales acknowledged the concerns of some company executives who say legislation might be overly intrusive and encroach on customers' privacy rights. But he said the growing threat of child pornography over the Internet was too great.

    The growing threat of child porn? Is it really that big of a threat?

    I've surfed the tubes and found some pretty perverse pr0n, but I have never run across any child porn. I have absolutely no clue how anyone could even go about finding the stuff. And yet, Gonzalez and the gov't claim it is a huge threat. A threat so great that we must intrude on the privacy rights of all law-abiding citizens. Do we have any real evidence to back up the claim that child porn is such an enormous threat that we must take extraordinary measures? No, we don't.

    We have to take the government's word for it, because no one is allowed to independently research child porn. To do so would violate the law. I've heard that the amount of new child porn material has increased in the past few years. Conversely, I've also heard that all of the child porn that's out there is the same old material that has been circulating around for 20 years. But we have no way to know for sure. The government keeps a database of child porn for themselves, and prosecutes and harshly punishes anyone that so much mistakenly downloads an image in their browser cache.

    This push by Gonzalez to mandate ISP data retention smells very fishy, especially considering that we, as citizens, have no way to verify that child porn is as serious a problem as he claims.
      • Re:want to find it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by QCompson (675963) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @08:19PM (#16142501)
        What a scary world we live in when I am frightened to even click on your link for fear of seeing pictures, which despite my total lack of sexual interest in, could still land me in prison, just for having viewed them on my computer.

        Of course your link could be some sort of joke, a link to pictures of baby elephants or something, but I guess I'll never know.
        • And that is insightful!
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Heh.

          I have viewed child porn - not only that, but repeatedly and semi-deliberately: I'm sure they could lock me up if they felt like it for what I've seen, and therefore had on my computer.

          Of course, the reason I saw it was because I was looking at an experiment in a major news site where they were trialling wikis as a method of responding to editorials. It was linked here on Slashdot, the trolls descended, and one particularly persistent one decided that his vandalism of choice was to post nude pictures of
    • by Some_Llama (763766) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @08:30PM (#16142589) Homepage Journal
      "We have to take the government's word for it, because no one is allowed to independently research child porn."

      Reminds me of this other great threat to america, i believe it is called marijuana. The government has told me many times that it is very bad for me, although i cannot find out for myself because it is illegal. Scientist have tried to do independant studies to find out if this "drug" is indeed harmful but the government will not allow them too because it is illegal.

      Strange but true..
  • Moo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chacham (981) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:47PM (#16142307) Homepage Journal
    The worst about all this is, that it has never actually been shown that CP is bad. Or at least, that it is any worse than the adult version.

    The main issues stated are:

    1) It hurts children to make it.
    2) It causes people to want the real thing.

    The first is obviously not what they are after, since:

    1a) They go after the consumer with full force, when this helps little. (It only helps the content creator only if he sells it.)

    1b) They go after voyeuristic photos and "model" shoots. The amount of actual CP where the child is hurt has never been shown to be significant.

    The second reason, has never been proven either:

    2a) The is an equal and opposite force that people would release tension through this, instead of going after the "real" thing.

    2b) Pedophilia is defined as a mental disorder, so "normal" viewers will shouldn't be affected by it anyway. Only someone who already wants it, and doesn't know it, would be affected. This is most likely not a significant amount of people.

    As such, i believe the real reason is not any of those given above. But until it is delineated, and the laws address it by protected people from harm (that is, make sure there is an actual (potential) victim as opposed to regulating behavior) there should be no barring of CP different from the Adult version. And, as for invading privacy, that's is going to take a lot more doing than this vagueness.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mdwh2 (535323)
      The worst about all this is, that it has never actually been shown that CP is bad. Or at least, that it is any worse than the adult version.

      This is particularly the case in the UK, where now, even fake sexual images of child are illegal. Yes, it's illegal to make images of women look younger, even if you have no intent to distribute these images: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tees/4776123.st m [bbc.co.uk] .

      Basically, liking women with small breasts, shaved pussy and school uniforms is a crime in the UK, and consid
      • by glwtta (532858)
        Is this the guy with the previous sex-offender record? In the UK judges seem to have god-like power to deal as they want with previously convicted criminals (including throwing them back in jail), if they feel that they present a danger to the public ("feel" is the main point, they don't need a conviction of a new crime, or even an accusation). And of course sex offenders lose a lot of their legal rights for life.

        All of this is very wrong, but still, I'm pretty sure that without prior history photoshopp
    • by glwtta (532858)
      The worst about all this is, that it has never actually been shown that CP is bad.

      Ok, that was one of the more unsettling arguments here. Rather than dwell on the ethics of forcing children to have sex for the purpose of producing pornography, I'll point out the legal points involved here.

      Under current law, sexual activity with minors is, ipso facto, non-consensual and therefore illegal. Your point #1 is in fact what "they" are after, the reasoning behind going after the consumers as well as the produ
      • "Of course everything concerning child porn tends to err on the side of vigorous prosecution, but then it's a pretty horrific crime, so that's understandable. "

        Just because something is horrific doesn't mean we should throw out all rational thought. I mean I have people in my life who were affected by molestation when they were children, and I would love to throttle the ones who did it, BUT i would rather we as a society think about this rationally and err on the side of caution rather than execute people o
      • Re:Moo (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @09:32PM (#16142963)
        Ok, that was one of the more unsettling arguments here. Rather than dwell on the ethics of forcing children to have sex for the purpose of producing pornography, I'll point out the legal points involved here.

        Wow, you just ignored his entire argument! And since you did so, I'll restate it:

        • Most of the people they go after aren't the ones producing the images. Therefore, those particular people never had the possibility of actually harming any children. (That was his point #1a)
        • A big chunk of the stuff they go after does not depict any actual sexual activity. It merely contains unclothed children. (That was his point #1b)

        In other words, if they want to stop child porn they ought to:

        • Target the producers
        • Target the ones making pictures of actual sexual acts
        But do people really have a right to consume something that is illegal to produce?

        It's the production that (theoretically) causes harm, therefore it's the production that ought to be illegal.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Your point #1 is in fact what "they" are after, the reasoning behind going after the consumers as well as the producers, is that demand creates supply, and cutting off the demand for child pornography will lower the incentives to produce it (whether or not money is directly involved).

        Wait just a second. By downloading it without paying for it, aren't you ... stealing it. You know, robbing the 'artists' that produce this 'intellectual property.' I mean, that's what Alberto Gonzales has been touring Ame

  • by tinrobot (314936) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:50PM (#16142325)
    They want retention so they can continue to expand the domestic spying program. Simple as that.

    Child porn is just the catch phrase they can use to ram it through congress.

    I can see the campaign ad -- "Congressman X voted against protections from child porn!"
  • Protection tools? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by twitter (104583) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:51PM (#16142330) Homepage Journal

    Are there any tools that can be used to mask real browsing habits by randomly sampling and following links from sites like Google News or Wikipedia? It would be nice to have something like that going 24/7 so that your actual traffic would be drowned in a sea of noise. It would also considerably raise the cost of the invasion, required by law or not. I don't like my ISP looking over my shoulder to begin with. That big brother wants to share the view is disturbing but not much different from the existing corporate invasion.

  • by rminsk (831757) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:52PM (#16142344)
    We respect civil liberties but ...
    If you respect civil liberites how can there be a but?
  • by quincunx55555 (969721) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:53PM (#16142352)
    Why stop with ISPs and child porn?

    I think all communications with attorney generals, congress persons, cabinet members, etc should all be retained, reviewed, and utilized when corruption is evident. That'll keep our children safe!
  • How about this... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by redphive (175243) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @07:57PM (#16142380) Homepage
    1. create a list of sites that they find are exploiting children
    2. put together servers and software that can monitor ISP lines
    3. provide servers and software to ISPs at no cost
    4. ISPs only report on those that are going to those sites.
    5. haul in the asses of those who are guilty of visiting said sites

    OR

    1. create a list of sites that they find are exploiting children
    2. take down those sites
    3. everyone is happy

    Yes, I know there are a lot of those sites that are 'offshore' but I can assure you, it isn't from experience.
  • I mean, most children featured in porn films get to survive and tell their stories, while oppressive governments tend to kill, maim and imprison people. Besides, how are ISPs going to log any HTTPS traffic with good stuff?
  • How many cases? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AnotherBlackHat (265897) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @08:12PM (#16142449) Homepage
    So, how many cases of child porn were there (in Gonzales estimation) that couldn't be prosecuted because it took two years to get a warrent?
    I mean are we talking tens? hundreds? thousands? more?

    -- Should you believe authority without question?
  • by hsmith (818216) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @08:12PM (#16142454)
    future? We curb civil liberties by doing all this stupid shit to "think of the children," but we fail to think of the childrens futures where they will live in a restricted society. Why don't we start thinking of the childrens adult lives and how fucked they will be living in a fascist society.
  • Beacuse you never know when the rules might change, and we want to look for transgressions you didnt even know you were going to someday regret.
  • Nothing New (Score:5, Informative)

    by homer_ca (144738) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @08:17PM (#16142488)
    Abu Gonzales has been pushing ISP data retention since at least early this year, and he's invoked all the usual boogeymen to get it passed: terrorism and kiddie porn.

    He's tried:
    -meeting privately [com.com] with the major ISPs to ask them for voluntary compliance
    -getting Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner to introduce a bill [com.com] that went nowhere.
    -somehow persuading Qwest to endorse legislation [com.com]

    I don't mean to pimp Cnet. Search any tech news site for "ISP data retention" and you'll see the history of this.
    • by unitron (5733)
      Apparently he's willing to try practically anything except for the "quaint" practice of getting a search warrant.
  • "We respect civil liberties but we have to harmonize this so we can get more information".

    This from the guy who advised Bush in the FISA wiretaps?
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @08:20PM (#16142512)
    How about you stop pulling the "terrorism" card and "child porn" card, and tell us why, in no uncertain terms, you need to keep prying into our lives. What evidence do you have that proves, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that such additional monitoring will help stamp out child pornography? What justification do you really have for your stance? I'm talking hard numbers ... how many cases have been successfully prosecuted (i.e., resulting in prison terms) for child pornography as a direct result of ISP data retention? Wiretapping (in spite of the billions spent upon it) has not justified the cost in terms of viable prosecutions, and I see no reason to think this will prove otherwise. And I'm very serious, Mr. Gonzales, partly because your current rationale makes little to no sense whatsoever, and mostly because I just don't believe you. If you want to do this to us, for God's sake prove it to us, make us understand why we need to give up still more of our precious Constitution. I would fully expect that the nation's ATTORNEY GENERAL would be capable of presenting such a case to the American public using honest facts, not trigger-words, emotional ploys and outright fiction.

    A bit disappointing, really.

    Maybe we do need to give up some civil liberties, given the current state of affairs with international terrorism ... certain rights were temporarily rescinded during World War II and were re-established afterwards. Maybe. I've not seen sufficient evidence, as presented by my official representatives in government or their appointees (are you listening, Mr. Gonzales?) that convinces me of this.

    Furthermore, I absolutely do not accept "child pornography" as good and sufficient cause to invoke yet another massive spy campaign against the American public. If the FBI needs more funds to go after these bastards ... so be it. That's why we have appropriations committees. But wholesale monitoring of the entire Internet-using population?

    I think not.
    • certain rights were temporarily rescinded during World War II and were re-established afterwards

      The only problem with that arguemnt is that WWII had clearly defined end. Do you really think the guv is gointo hunt down every last terrorist cell? Ever?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by calidoscope (312571)

      certain rights were temporarily rescinded during World War II and were re-established afterwards.

      The amount of rights rescinded depended a lot on whether or not you were ethnic Japanese (and one of the strongest supporters of sending the Japanese to concentration camps (using the pre-WWII meaning)was Earl Warren) - many people had their property confiscated (the folks in Handford did not leave willingly - the 90% "war profits" income tax bracket wasn't rescinded until the 1960's.

      What's even worse is wh

  • New law (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shawn is an Asshole (845769) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @09:07PM (#16142821)
    If a law is going to be passed on data retention, it should be passed in the opposite direction. Data retention past 30 days (ie, a billing cycle) should be illegal. Search engine results that link any personally identifying information should be illegal (this includes you, Google). Etc. Punishment should be $1000 per log entry older than 30 days.
  • A note I sent to Mike Hatch, who's currently running for Govenor of Minnesota (where I live), and was one of the very few who didn't sign this letter. There are some edited slashdot comments in there, as some posters sum things up better than I. You can send comments to attorney.general@state.mn.us

    Dear Attorney General Hatch,

    I'd like to thank you for not adding your name to this letter:

    (From AP) "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday that Congress should require Internet service providers to preserve customer records, asserting that prosecutors need them to fight child pornography.

    "This is a problem that requires federal legislation," Gonzales told the Senate Banking Committee. "We need information. Information helps us makes cases."

    "We respect civil liberties but we have to harmonize this so we can get more information," he said. " "

    Child porn is just an excuse. If protecting children was really the point, the letter proposing legislation would limit all subpoenas of data retained under this law to child porn cases. This proposition doesn't do that, so Mr. Gonzales obviously wants to 'legitimize' the domestic spying program, gain unlimited access to private info with no oversight, and should be condemned for his co-opting a 'hot button' issue to garner support for a lie.

    I appreciate the rather singular gesture you have made by not signing this letter, and showing Minnesotans and Americans that privacy and the fourth amendment are as important to you as they are to us.

    Abusing children is a horrible crime, abusing them for more political power is worse.

    Thanks, and good luck in November; you will have my vote.

  • by weasel5i2 (994250) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @04:46AM (#16144447) Homepage
    There's a distinct difference between pornography [wikipedia.org] , erotic art [wikipedia.org] , and just plain 'ol photography.

    A picture of a naked 14-year-old boy or girl, just standing there in a neutral kind of way, not sexually suggestive at all, is completely legal as an artistic shot. My parents have photos of me as a baby, all nekkid with my little baby wee-wee and everything (curses!!) but I highly doubt they could even be considered remotely illegal.

    Now, that same 14-yr-old doing something suggestive or posing in a not-for-kids manner would definitely be considered porn and thusly illegal. I'm not sure what the rules are regarding erotica and minors.

    There are many professional photographers who aren't kiddie-pornographers, who take nude photos of their subjects whether they're of legal age or not.. This could also include medical imaging, as well as anything else it could include which I can't remember right now.

    I wonder how long before someone uses CGI to make artificial kiddie-pr0n.. "but she's not underage, Your Honor! Right here in the code, her age is commented: Nine hundred." Loopholes, glorious loopholes. Just FYI, IANACP.

    --A

"Never give in. Never give in. Never. Never. Never." -- Winston Churchill

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