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Collegiate Nation: Don't Let Congress Order Spying on You

January 11, 2012

Collegiate Nation urges all college students to support the campaign by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to defeat H.R. 1981, a bill that would order online service providers to keep records of everyone's online activities, to help the government identify the web sites we visit and the content we post. EFF opposes this bill because it is a sweeping new "mandatory data retention" proposal treats every Internet user like a potential criminal and represents a clear and present danger to the online free speech and privacy rights of millions of innocent Americans.

Any college student can go to go to the EFF website and easily send an electronic message to their representative in Congress to oppose passage of H.R. 1981. https://www.eff.org/action

Collegiate Nation finds it objectionable and reprehensible that Congress would corrupt a good Bill -- intended to protect children from sexual predators -- by inserting a provision that violates the privacy rights of every American. H.R. 1981 should only be about protecting children and not invading the privacy of ordinary Americans who use the Internet. Everyone wants child pornographers caught and prosecuted. But it is grossly un-American to invade everyone's privacy in order to catch criminals.

To learn more read:

Privacy Roundup: Mandatory Data Retention, Smart Meter Hacks, and Law Enforcement Usage of "Silent SMS"

Cornell University Law School -- Legal Information Institute

Congress wants to spy on everyone's Internet

Can an Anti-Child Porn Bill Go Too Far?

If you visit https://www.eff.org/action to send a letter to Congress protesting H.R. 1981, it will state:

"I am a constituent and I strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 1981, the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act. This bill, by imposing sweeping data retention requirements on a broad swath of online service providers, would compromise the online privacy and free speech rights of millions of innocent Americans while also threatening innovation and growth in the communications industry.

No one opposes the goal of protecting children against exploitation, but this bill would treat every Internet user like a criminal. It would require my own Internet Service Provider to intentionally undermine my online privacy. The mandatory data retention scheme proposed in H.R. 1981 would leave my and everyone else's personal data vulnerable to overzealous government investigators, unscrupulous civil litigants, black hat hackers and accidental data breaches, while doing little to nothing to help children.

By requiring commercial providers of Internet access to retain network address logs for 12 months, H.R. 1981 threatens my constitutional rights to speak freely and read privately online. At the same time, it would impose new costs on Internet service providers and small businesses that could raise prices and chill innovation.

This is not a party-line issue; House members on both sides of the aisle share my concerns about H.R. 1981. In the words of Mr. Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the bill runs "roughshod over the privacy rights of people who use the Internet for thousands of lawful purposes" and should be "defeated and put in the dustbin of history." I couldn't have said it better myself.

Requiring Internet companies to redesign and reconfigure their systems to facilitate government surveillance of Americans' expressive activities is simply un-American. Such a scheme would be as objectionable to our Founders as the requiring of licenses for printing presses or the banning of anonymous pamphlets. I am turning to you, my elected Representative, so that you will protect my constitutional rights and push back against this anti-privacy, anti-free speech, anti-innovation proposal.

Please protect my digital civil liberties by opposing H.R. 1981 and by supporting any amendment to remove or narrow the dangerous and un-American data retention mandate that it contains."

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