A loud cheer arose from the internet community when news broke that SOPA and PIPA had been shelved. No sooner than that cheer arose, TX-21 Rep Lamar Smith was at it again with a new bill. That’s right, we’re looking at a new bill on internet censorship. There is also a treaty that has been signed by several countries, including the United States that allows for internet censorship and continual monitoring of your personal activities. These pieces of legislation are the ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) and PCIPA (Protect Children from Internet Pornography Act) also known as H.R. 1981. As with all bills, the titles sound harmless enough, but the devil is in the details. So, let’s dive in and see what our government is REALLY up to.
ACTA- This treaty (yes, you read that right) is an agreement between the Australia, Canada, the European Union (EU), represented by the European Commission and the EU Presidency and the EU Member States, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States of America. This agreement is supposedly to protect intellectual property rights. Although that sounds good, there are issues with the actual details in the treaty. Here is a little video to better help you understand what this treaty would mean for all people involved.
Now that you’ve had a minor run through of the ACTA treaty, here is the actual text to read. If you are like me, you want to know EXACTLY what this piece of legislation says so you can better combat its existence. It’s 25 pages long and may be a difficult read if you aren’t used to legalese.
This treaty is a big deal. All of the monitoring it takes to bring this agreement into fruition is a direct violation of our 4th amendment. This is allowing them to constantly search our homes, computer, etc. without a warrant. I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to give up my right to privacy in my own home just so Hollywood’s elite can save a few bucks from people pirating their stuff. Do I think the piracy is wrong…yes. This, however, is NOT the way to go about fighting that. You cannot give up your rights just so a few can have security. It won’t work. There needs to be mass opposition to the signing of this treaty! The treaty was signed in May 2011, but is open until May 2013. Anyone may withdraw from this treaty with written notice to the WTO (World Trade Organization). Within 180 days of receipt of that written notice the participation of the country wishing to withdraw will be withdrawn. We need to be calling the USTR (United States Trade Representative) and telling them that we DO NOT want to participate in this treaty as it is unconstitutional. You can contact the USTR here under Intellectual Property & Innovation. I hope that everyone that reads this will do just that! Lets fight to keep our 1st and 4th amendments intact!!
PCIPA (H.R. 1981)- Who would dare to go against something that will protect our children from pornography? That’s just what TX-21 Rep Lamar Smith is counting on people saying. If it protects the children it MUST be good, right? Not always. I DO NOT condone child pornography in ANY CONTEXT. I believe it is up to the parents, though to monitor their child’s internet activity. I think parents should sit with their children while they are on the internet just to keep them from falling into the pitfalls that run so rampant on the internet, but most are too involved in their own things to take time out of their busy schedules to properly police their child’s internet browsing. This, however, does NOT give the government the right to pass bills that infringe upon our rights. This bill, once again, just like SOPA and PIPA allows for the government to have the ability to monitor our usage of the internet without a warrant. Again, I am not for giving up ANY of my rights to feel a little more secure because it DOESN’T work! We have to take responsibility for our own actions and our family’s actions. We DO NOT need government to tell us what we can and cannot do in our own homes or to monitor us so we don’t “step out of line”. That is not their job. It clearly states in the 4th amendment that the government may only search our property if they have a warrant to do so. This warrant doesn’t give them a blanket approval so they can come in at any time off one warrant. Each instance requires a new warrant. This bill provides for ALL ISPs (internet service providers) to keep records of all usage by their customers for up to 18 months and to provide this freely to the government. The government HAS TO, by law, get a warrant for that kind of information. PERIOD. For this purpose, alone, I disagree with this bill. It is unconstitutional. Here is the text of the PCIPA and the text of Title 18 that it is amending. Again, I ask that everyone that reads this article should contact their Senators and Congress members and ask that this bill be stopped or amended so that it does not infringe upon our 4th amendment right. We must be vigilant in watching over our rights as the government is so apt to step on them at every turn. Here is a link to the petition to stop the PCIPA. Please sign and share the petition with others!
I ask that everyone reading this, please, do your own research and confirm the things that I have found to be true for myself. If you find something that I have missed, please feel free to let me know and I will immediately look into what you have found. Again, I repeat, that I am not advocating child internet pornography or any aspect of that. I AM, however, advocating the upholding of our 1st and 4th amendment rights as well as all rights granted to us by our Creator and guaranteed us in the Constitution. Go research, fight the good fight, and most of all stay true to our Constitution! Together, our voices can be heard as witnessed in the fight against SOPA & PIPA. Lets get the word out and stop these as well!