Monthly Archives: October 2008

ISPs: The new police on the virtual streets…

Some time ago, I wrote about the “Geek Squad” from Best Buy acting as agents for law enforcement and monitoring the data on customers’ computers when they brought their machines in for servicing. (See “Geek Squad” has whole new meaning… from October 4, 2007).

I am all for protecting children and the prosecution of those who knowingly and/or intentionally seek, view, display, disseminate or create materials that sexually exploit children. The issue I had there was with theBest Buy Geek Squad searching a man’s computer and the deputization of local computer repair guys as government agents to search through people’s files and ultimately turning them into government actors, especially if they are working in coordination with local and national law enforcement as informants and butchering the United States Constitution.

And now, it has gone one more step further.

According to MSNBC, “new technologies and changes in U.S. law are adding to pressures to turn Internet service providers into cops examining all Internet traffic for child pornography.” (Source) The story states that

One new tool, being marketed in the U.S. by an Australian company, offers to check every file passing through an Internet provider’s network — every image, every movie, every document attached to an e-mail or found in a Web search — to see if it matches a list of illegal images.

Clearly, privacy advocates are in an uproar about the program.  According to MSNBC

Privacy advocates are raising objections to such tools, saying that monitoring all traffic would be an unconstitutional invasion. They say companies can’t start watching every customer’s activity, and blocking files thought to be illegal, even when the goal is as noble as protecting children.

The law requiring ISPs to monitor such files easily passed Congress and was signed into law by President Bush last week,

Read the full story here.