ACLU Condemns Bill Eliminating Online Privacy

February 13, 2007 12:00 am

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Washington – The American Civil Liberties Union today condemned a bill introduced by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), that seeks to eliminate online privacy by requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to maintain detailed records on each of their subscribers’ online activities. The bill would give Attorney General Alberto Gonzales broad discretion to determine what records ISPs must keep and for how long. In addition, it would require “sexually explicit” websites to post warning labels or face criminal sanctions.

The following can be attributed to Marvin Johnson, Legislative Counsel for the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“Legislation like this is like swatting a fly with a bazooka. Such sweeping measures do little to stop online crime; instead, they overwhelm law enforcement agents with mountains of raw data and have a chilling effect on ISP subscribers’ First Amendment rights. There is no limit to the amount of information Attorney General Gonzales can require ISPs to keep, from instant messages to private emails to web searches, and he can require that they be kept forever. This represents an incredible invasion into our privacy and freedom to use the Internet without the government reading over our shoulders.”

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