SAFE Act: Here Come the Feds, Trying to Regulate the Internet Again

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill -- called the Securing Adolescents From Exploitation-Online Act, or SAFE Act -- saying that anyone offering an open Wi-Fi connection to the public must report illegal images including "obscene" cartoons and drawings--or face fines of up to $300,000.

That broad definition would cover individuals, coffee shops, libraries, hotels, and even some government agencies that provide Wi-Fi. It also sweeps in social-networking sites [Editor's note - that would include the DailyPaul], domain name registrars, Internet service providers, and e-mail service providers such as Hotmail and Gmail, and it may require that the complete contents of the user's account be retained for subsequent police inspection.
Not one Democrat opposed the SAFE Act. Two Republicans did: Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian-leaning presidential candidate from Texas, and Rep. Paul Broun from Georgia.

Read the whole thing here

Yet another attempt on behalf of the Feds to encroach on our liberties, couched so nicely as an anti-child pornography law. This makes it nearly impossible to fight against it without suffering the inevitable, "Aren't you against child pornography?!" questions. Politics is a dirty game.

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Straw Man

Yet another attempt on behalf of the Feds to encroach on our liberties, couched so nicely as an anti-child pornography law. This makes it nearly impossible to fight against it without suffering the inevitable, "Aren't you against child pornography?!" questions.

Textbook straw man.

Liberals want to be your Mommy. Conservatives want to be your Daddy. Libertarians want to treat you like an adult.
Stop the Thought Crimes Act (H.R. 1955) with one click:

Ignorance of Technology Brought Us IMBRA as Well

Ron Paul was only 1 of 4 Congressmen who refused to vote for IMBRA as well. This outrageous law (International Marriage Broker Regulation Act) forces Americans to be background checked before being allowed to communicate with foreigners on social networking sites that focus on Americans meeting foreigners.

A Bush appointed judge, Thomas Rose, refused on the friday before Memorial Day 2006 to put a restraining order on IMBRA saying "The Supreme Court has never recognized a fundamental liberty interest in an American contacting a foreigner".

The devil was not just in the outrageous depiction of Americans as criminals before the fact, but also in the details of the law that no Congressman bothered to read (nobody remembers voting for this law because it was buried deep, deep inside a huge appropriations bill that was voice voted at the last second before Christmas 2005).

There was a clause in the law that said that foreigners had to sign in writing that they had read the criminal background checks of specific Americans who wanted to meet them...and they approved of contact with those specific Americans (this law destroyed the right to be anonymous).

This took away the right of foreigners to broadcast their personal contact information to anyone and everyone as they saw fit (it was argued in court that foreigners have no rights in US courts so they could be subject to "forced informed consent").

What Congress did not know was that it was not a minor thing to assume that everyone who wants to meet each other via the Internet actually USE the Internet themselves. Some people like to advertise their phone number or address on a website and then hope to get a phone call or snail mail or telegram from an American or Australian or whatever.

It was only practical for social network webmasters to send the background check results to foreigners via email.

So it was IMPOSSIBLE for foreigners who wanted to be contacted by phone or snail mail to read and approve of contact with Americans.

IMBRA was designed by special interest groups to block contact between Americans and foreigners.

The left says this protected women from domestic abusers (long before marriage and immigration, but as they said in court "you cannot start too early to identify domestic abusers).

The right said that this would stop "sex tourism". Funny enough, the law actually loopholed sex tourist websites and left Craigs List to continue to allow foreign prostitutes to advertise their phone numbers and home addresses online (as they have a right to do).

By the way, the only other Republican to vote No on IMBRA was Tom Tancredo. I respect Tancredo for that. Too bad he has no support in his race.

The above law is waiting for someone to walk into a federal courthouse and challenge it pro se. Don't expect any lawyers to offer pro bono services.

The answer to the question.....

The answer to the question of "Aren't you against child pornography?" should be answered like this.....

"yes I am, and I love the fact that pedophile rings post these awful images because it is a 100% trackable way to find them." "Every computer has a unique ID, so you can track everywhere that awful image goes, and catch every sick person who views it. This will just make the pedophiles find other ways to spread their exploits, and dry up and chance we have of finding them."

As a Mother, my gut reaction is to say...yeah, make every provider responsible to report everything...but then I think...if yahoo had to report all "improper" IM's or Chatroom activity, think of how many times a sting operation would be blown before they could catch the pedophile....
"Dateline: to catch a predator" would have no way to engage and capture those idiots. The "authorities" wouldn't have ENOUGH evidence built up to convict.

It's not possible to do. The

It's not possible to do.

The WiFi provider in the middle of the connection can not eavesdrop on the source and destination if the connection is encrypted. All they will see is an encrypted stream but they wont be able to tell what it is.

For the non-technical you might imagine that the WiFi provider is like a mail man.. sure he can read post cards, but if you put the porn pictures in an envelope, he is unable to know what they are.

Also, what do they mean by report? Are they conscripting us? Are you to somehow personally inspect each and every graphic from each and every user you have to make sure its not "obscene"? A machine just can not do this with any certainty, it doesn't matter what type of proxy-firewall system you have, I could get pictures of any kind across it.

So... given that.. is congress just ignorant of the technology involved, or is there another reason for this law?

Anti-Commerce Law is about Liability, Liability, Liability.

On other blogs around the net, I see some people saying "what's the fuss, this law isn't that bad. It only says that, if you see a crime, you must report it or you are a criminal you must preserve evidence".

Some answers to that:

1) Do we need more laws that say we are criminals for not reporting criminal activity that we see? The problem here is that it adds liability to life and commerce.

2) What will happen is that corporations that provide Internet services will have to worry about their EMPLOYEES seeing pornographic images and discerning whether the models are underage or not. Everyone must get off the idea that a simple WiFi Cafe owner won't know what to do if he sees a customer looking at what might be child porn. The proper scenario is that the WiFi Cafe owner will have 12 young employees some of whom might view porn on their friends laptops while they are serving them ice cream sundaes or coffee. THE OWNER WILL NOT WANT TO TAKE THE RISK THAT HIS OR HER EMPLOYEES WILL PROPERLY RECOGNIZE CRIMINAL PORN AS OPPOSED TO REGULAR PORN and he or she would, therefore, set up filters to ban all porn from being viewed.

3) Many commercial enterprise owners will not stop at just banning pornography websites from their WiFi networks: they will ban anything with the word "sex" or "teen" in it or just not provide Internet at all because they are afraid of the LIABILITY.

Remember that most porn features women between 18 and 20, some of whom look a little older and some younger. Will ISPs and WiFi providers need to check for the age compliance link on all porn images now?

SAFE is a backdoor law to get pornography effectively banned in a lot more places because of the liability that some porn might be illegal and it is not worth the chance that the illegal stuff won't be recognized by employees.

In court, left wing judges will defend the law because they will say it regulates COMMERCE, not individuals, which is ultimately a lie.

Right wing judges like Scalia have shown that they are against pornography altogether, so they might happily uphold something that could effectively ban it indirectly where COPA was unable to do so directly.

Remember that a lot of idiots in the US think that COPA's requirement for providing a credit card in order to even view a website's sample porn images for reasonable. They have no concept of anonymity on the Internet...even though we all walk around anonymously outdoors in real life (we don't carry nametags as we walk into a store and pay cash for milk, eggs and magazines).


Agreed. 100% You are exactly correct.

SAFE Act: SAFE for Whom?

Here's another example of our lawless politicians grabbing for more power. As if they cared what type of obscenity some kid might see. What they are reall after is POWER. They don't like the idea of not being able to control information. They are just revealing their totalitarian nature.

If they controlled the Internet, Ron Paul would truly be unknown to millions of Americans. They want to control information, speech, thought, firearms, your money, your property. What's left?

We need to fight them. We need to elect statesmen who will obey the Supreme Law of the Land, the Constitution.

Good riddance to bad garbage

Encroach on your liberties? You have no constitutional right to a FREE Wi-Fi connection.

Cell phones kill slowly. Wi-Fi networks kill QUICKLY!. Wireless broadband is one of the greatest threats to health in this decade (in addition to fluoride in the water, MSG and Nutrisweet in the drinks, chemtrails in the air,etc)

We live in an ocean of electronic "junk" that stresses our body and decreases our health. Don't believe me? Google "cell phone brain cancer" and get an education.

If the feds can kill the infestation of Wi-Fi networks, we will all be better off.

If you can think of a reason that giga-corporations can expose you to increasing radiation levels WITHOUT your consent AND make you pay for the privilege, I would suggest you move to Europe. They like things like that

Michael Relfe


If I want to GIVE you a free WI-FI connection, you have a Constitutional right to it. This is a joke isn't it? I don't get it do I? Are you seriously telling me that a few milliwatts of RF at 4.2GHz is damaging to your health? When you are feet or yards away from it? Dude, I worked for YEARS at a television station transmitter site that put out 50,000 WATTS of sheer power at a UHF frequency (much lower). You had to leave your credit cards in your car when you walked in the transmitter building or the magnetic strip on the back would be erased. That's how powerful the EMF was. That was just the transmitter power. The Effective Radiated Power of the UHF TV station was one MILLION watts.

I'm still able to type. I'm still able to think. I don't have cancer, or brain damage, (although the latter is debatable according to some people, since I'm voting for Ron Paul). The only POSSIBLE detrimental effect that I could remotely attribute to it, is poorer eyesight. But that may have happened anyway, who knows? So now I'm supposed to be scared of 50 milliwatts at 4.2GHz??

I'm going to assume this is satire, or you are joking and it just flew over my head. Otherwise it makes no sense.

You are changing the subject...

The question here is whether it is up to Wifi providers to regulate information available on the Internet (under threat of retaliation from the federal government). The SAFE act has absolutely nothing to do with potential health issues. If you want to see legislation introduced to deal with potential health problems caused by Wifi, contact your representative. Otherwise, let's stay on topic.

What the fuck is an illegal

What the fuck is an illegal image?

Oh yea child porn, wasnt

Oh yea child porn, wasnt thinkin of that

And if THAT wasn't enough...

Further evidence of what they would "like" to be as the state of the future...


Was the first one to realize that whoever controled the newspaper, control the stories, controled what people read , controled what people thought, controled the people. Now in our time we have a similar situation, but instead of the newspaper it's the internet. If there was control of the internet, and any intelligent person knows it's not about the porn, do you really think a website like this one, DailyPaul, would exist?

When I found out about this

When I found out about this today, I was so angry I called my congressman for the first time ever. Obviously it's not going to make a difference, but oh well.

Here we go again...

This is exactly why we need to repeal the 17th amendment. If the Senate is chosen by an informed State legislature(Which is elected by the people anyway!) instead of worrying about the 30 second sound byte in which their opponent will say, x voted y and therefore is z, their voting records would be looked over by informed local politicians who are much more likely to reselect Senators based on the outcome of legislation than the intentions it was disguised with.


This is very chilling. On top of the Protect America Act (and Patriot Act), this SAFE act was clearly constructed to bestow omnipresent powers to the government over virtually all email communications, and requires providers to archive virtually everything (by my reading) for later investigation. Although it may start with child porn, it will quickly be used to support almost any government prosecution or dragnet.

This is moving so fast that we will have lost before many even knew to show up and fight. This will be a done deal in just a few weeks. Even the Electronic Frontier Foundation had nothing on their main page about this legislation when I checked a few minutes ago.

Since Paul was one of only two no votes, he should be ready to reply to the press question to come: "Why have you voted in favor of protecting child pornographers?"

Electronic Frontier Foundation is a Trojan Horse: Not An Ally

The Electronic Frontier Foundation at is more or less an organization that will pretend to care about our rights, but they have been compromised somehow and I assume they do what their Democratic Party masters tell them. I know from fighting the above-mentioned IMBRA law that, it they are not in total agreement with Democrat Party measures to curb Internet freedom, they really only care about their salaries coming in year after year. Also, similar organizations have told me that they can only fight one law at a time with their legal actions. A number of foundations are now actively fighting the Double-Click Merger with a typical left wing zeal to stop *corporations* as opposed to *government*. It is OK to hate corporations in the Democratic Party, but not OK to hate big government. This is why, for instance, EPIC at spends so much time trying to fight websites like Facebook for sometimes revealing the buying behavior of its members to other members...and why EPIC actually recommends government intervention to stop such things from happening.

In short, a lot of organizations set up to supposedly fight for our rights are really fighting for our rights vis a vis corporations, not government. A good Democrat who joins such an organization sees Congress as his friend and Congressional lawmaking as the solution to "evil corporations that might do us harm with their greed and negligence".

A good path for Ron Paul to win the nomination and get big business to back him more would be for him to point out that the liberals think corporations are the first enemy while government is good while good conservatives think mainly the other way around.

Since Paul was one of only

Since Paul was one of only two no votes, he should be ready to reply to the press question to come: "Why have you voted in favor of protecting child pornographers?"

Just wait until the mud begins to fly and the 15-30 sec attack ads by other candidates start airing those kind of sound bites.
We as RP supporters know exactly why he voted against this, but the average Joe that sees these ads between their tv shows are not going to get the whole story. This could get ugly.


emailed and left a message for both of my senators.

Rally it up!

Contact everyone you know and start emailing and calling your Representatives.

"The use of 'Conspiracy Theorist' or 'Truther' as a derogatory -- as an epithet almost -- is something the propagandists have perfected over the decades, and it's a useful tool for eliminating articulate dissent."