So, Congress finally reached a deal on the debt ceiling. While I've heard various complaints from both sides, I personally think they were attempting to relate to college students and trying to get the youth-vote. Like most college students, they finished their group project on the day it was due, it didn't turn out the way that they originally envisioned, and now they're worried it will affect their grade*.
But, now that they're finished with that, they can go back to doing what they do best...taking away our freedoms and placing its citizens under constant watch. H.R. 1981 requires Internet Service Providers (ISP) to keep a database tracking its users' personal information including names, addresses, and financial information. Personally, I don't like the idea of being watched and tracked by the government- I'm so terrified of Big Brother that my tinfoil hat has its own tinfoil hat. But, even if you buy into the whole, “you have nothing to be afraid of if you have nothing to hide,” argument, forcing ISPs to track all of this data for every one of its users is going to be costly, which we can expect to see manifest in the form of higher prices.
This bill is particularly challenging politically because of its name- Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011. Opponents of this bill run the risk of being labeled a pedophile and offer great material for smear ads come election season. Overall, I don't buy their “Think of the Children!” hysteria. Forcing companies to collect this data and surrender it to law enforcement agencies sets a dangerous precedent. It's easy to pass the law arguing that it will only be used to protect children from internet pornographers, but if the law were to pass it wouldn't surprise me if soon enough it were used in cases of illegally downloading music or movies or track whistleblowers, such as Wikileaks.
This strategy is not new to politics. It's hard to title a bill “The Citizen Surveillance Act”, so they title it something much more American, like “The Patriot Act.” If you don't support it, you are clearly unpatriotic. But, with fear of being banned from parks, school zones, and day cares everywhere, I'll gladly stand under my tinfoil hat and say this bill will not only fail to help children but may causes a lot of unintended consequences.
*Update: Like most projects done during an all-nighter, it seems that this one is going to hurt the country's GPA.