Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Bill Threatens Privacy, Free Speech of Americans

By DJBongHit in News
Thu May 18, 2000 at 11:48:21 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

H.R. 2987 would allow the government to order websites censored and shut down without any due process of law and without any notice given to the website's owner, says this summary at the ACLU. One provision of the bill would allow agencies like the FBI to make judgement calls on the intent of online statements regarding drug use - a power usually reserved for the courts. Internet service providers would then be ordered by law enforcement to take down any of these statements within 48 hours without notifying the website owner, or be considered in violation of the law.

This bill has passed the Senate already and is currently in the house, where it is now awaiting a vote before the Judiciary Committee. It is also being discussed on Smokedot, a website I run which is related to drug laws and rights.

[editor's note, by rusty] Note: The text of the bill is saved locally here on K5 because I couldn't figure out how to link to it on thomas. It is not modified in any way from the text you can get if you go to thomas and search for H.R. 2987.


Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o H.R. 2987
o summary at the ACLU
o Smokedot
o thomas
o Also by DJBongHit


Display: Sort:
Bill Threatens Privacy, Free Speech of Americans | 26 comments (26 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Also you should go to http://freedo... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by mind21_98 on Thu May 18, 2000 at 06:12:44 PM EST

mind21_98 voted 1 on this story.

Also you should go to http://freedom.translator.cx/ to complain to your representative.

--
mind21_98 - http://www.translator.cx/
"Ask not if the article is utter BS, but what BS can be exposed in said article."

I say they oughta shut down your st... (none / 0) (#5)
by End on Thu May 18, 2000 at 06:15:39 PM EST

End voted 1 on this story.

I say they oughta shut down your stupid site if they find illegal material on it, but like you I don't believe the FBI ought to have this authority.

-JD

Re: I say they oughta shut down your st... (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by TheDude on Fri May 19, 2000 at 02:03:39 AM EST

It's not just the FBI, or the government that's the problem here, and it's not just illegal sites at risk. It's the fact that they seem to be trying to remove the due process part of the Bill o' Rights (if my US history/govt knowledge is correct). Said people can copy your files, remove your site, and take you to court, without even telling you that they did this, or why. That's the part of this bill that is unquestionably illegal.

When you get arrested, you get told your rights, and you usually have a good idea of what they're arresting you for. If this bill passes, you can get shot down from the Internet and sent a court date notice without even being aware of any problems. And this bill isn't just about taking down sites dedicated to the sale of illegal substances either. It can cover anything from a website on leftist ideals to Communism to Green Parties, to Drug Information sites. The kind of power that would be given to legal personnel by this bill is something I'd expect to arise in 3rd world countries in the middle of a government coup - not that it's right there either.

Everyone who lives in the US should get off their keisters and let their representatives know this bill should not be passed, and those outside the US should watch to see that nothing like this attempts to get passed in their country.

--
TheDude of Smokedot
Drug Info, Rights, Laws, and Discussion
Visit #smokedot on irc.smokedot.org

[ Parent ]
Perhaps I'm being a bit parochial h... (2.00 / 2) (#8)
by robin on Thu May 18, 2000 at 06:19:11 PM EST

robin voted 0 on this story.

Perhaps I'm being a bit parochial here, but how about including a bit of information on what's going on elsewhere in the world? For example, the recent case where Demon caved and removed a website referred to in a Usenet post after accusations of libel? The US is important, clearly, but the sacred cow of Free Speech deserves a little more examination than this rather polarised attitude. Dammit, I'm sure it'll generate discussion, but I'd like to have enough hooks in the writeup to make the discussion a bit more wide-ranging.
--
W.A.S.T.E. (do not antagonise the Horn)

But this is a submission about a *US* Bill (1.00 / 1) (#18)
by Pelorat on Fri May 19, 2000 at 09:38:27 AM EST

Exactly how many 'hooks' to European Law should there be in a story about a United States Bill? Wouldn't people then rightly complain about it being rambling and unfocused?

How comprehensive should coverage of 'Free Speech' be in a given submission? The only way to get it all in is to say "Free Speech is being threatened somewhere right now. Discuss." At some point the focus must be narrowed.

If this weblog seems US-centric, it's only because there aren't as many people posting stories of non-US free speech issues. If you think that should change, then I sincerely urge you to submit whatever stories you think are relevant. If they're worth discussing, they'll get through.

[ Parent ]
Re: But this is a submission about a *US* Bill (none / 0) (#20)
by rusty on Fri May 19, 2000 at 09:46:13 AM EST

FWIW, we have quite a few UK, Aussie, and Canadian readers, among others from many other contries. We rely on people to submit news-- if there's news about your country, or any country, please submit it! :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: Perhaps I'm being a bit parochial h... (none / 0) (#24)
by Ozymandias on Fri May 19, 2000 at 02:30:40 PM EST

This isn't as US-centric as it seems. Consider; how much of the world's Internet traffic runs through US routers? How much non-US-owned content is hosted on US servers? The answers are "a lot" and "quite a few." <G>

To be more precise, some recent figures from Intel and Cisco indicate that as much as 90% of all international traffic - excluding traffic originating or terminating inside the US - travels through US routers, simply because the current Internet is a star, with the US in the center. Because of this, many foreign sites are hosted in the US - it reduces network lag and transfer times. That will change, but not quickly.

Consequently, any bill or law that restricts Internet freedoms in the US directly affects everyone else, too. And that means this story is important to non-US readers.
- Ozymandias
[ Parent ]

I really hope that someone gets a c... (none / 0) (#4)
by julian on Thu May 18, 2000 at 06:20:48 PM EST

julian voted 1 on this story.

I really hope that someone gets a clue soon and stops trying to regulate the Internet itself. You simply shouldn't be able to do it, I don't want it to turn into TV...
-- Julian (x-virge)

It is very importent that we kill t... (none / 0) (#1)
by Nyarlathotep on Thu May 18, 2000 at 06:23:32 PM EST

Nyarlathotep voted 1 on this story.

It is very importent that we kill this thing! Go locate you congress man/woman at the ACLU's web page or congress.org, and call them to complain about this bill.
Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!

Drugs are baad. Mkay!... (none / 0) (#10)
by zeda on Thu May 18, 2000 at 07:02:02 PM EST

zeda voted 1 on this story.

Drugs are baad. Mkay!

yet another attempt by the Imperial... (none / 0) (#6)
by warpeightbot on Thu May 18, 2000 at 07:06:44 PM EST

warpeightbot voted 1 on this story.

yet another attempt by the Imperial Federal Government to try to shut us down. Get on the horn, get the printer cranking, and let's nip this in the bud. The Supremes will strike it down, sure, but let's not wait that long.

This should be posted. This is a m... (1.00 / 1) (#9)
by Lupei on Thu May 18, 2000 at 07:14:08 PM EST

Lupei voted 1 on this story.

This should be posted. This is a much bigger issue than the overdone ms vs that other site issue.

sounds like the uk bill just a few ... (none / 0) (#7)
by feline on Thu May 18, 2000 at 07:27:45 PM EST

feline voted 1 on this story.

sounds like the uk bill just a few months ago, total bullshit, of course.

btw, this link is bad, did you notice the /temp thing, the search engine thingy creates a temp page for the search user. just go to the THOMAS dbase and search for H.R. 2987.
------------------------------------------

'Hello sir, you don't look like someone who satisfies his wife.'

One link is broken, and this is US ... (none / 0) (#2)
by Inoshiro on Thu May 18, 2000 at 08:05:27 PM EST

Inoshiro voted 1 on this story.

One link is broken, and this is US centric -- but freedom is universal.

I hope that US citizens read this and help defeat the bill. I also hope that citizens elsewhere read this and understand that it could happen there, too, if people are not educated. Although I am guessing more than one of you pulled "US centric" -1s already ;-)



--
[ イノシロ ]
I'm against drugs, but this law sou... (2.50 / 2) (#3)
by Perpetual Newbie on Thu May 18, 2000 at 11:09:02 PM EST

Perpetual Newbie voted 1 on this story.

I'm against drugs, but this law sounds like it would be highly unconstitutional. Let's see what we've got...

`(g) In this section, the term `directly or indirectly advertise for sale' includes the use of any communication facility (as that term is defined in section 403(b)) to initiate the posting, publicizing, transmitting, publishing, linking to, broadcasting, or other advertising of any matter (including a telephone number or electronic or mail address) knowing that such matter has the purpose of seeking or offering, or is designed to be used, to receive, buy, distribute, or otherwise facilitate a transaction in.'.

Think about this. Can you put up a webpage advertising anything else illegal such as burglary services, assassin for hire, etc? Well, yes you can. You would be what we'd call an idiot, because if your page is serious it counts as probable cause. But that doesn't change the fact that people have the right to freely admit their criminality.

by inserting `amphetamine or' before `methamphetamine' each place it appears;

I wish someone would use the Web and link all these bills together whenever they refer to each other.. I don't know what the bill where these words are changed says, but to my knowledge amphetamines are legally prescribed drugs, so I hope they didn't just make a couple doctors' jobs illegal. They do a lot of this sort of thing in this and most bills, I'm too lazy to look up the other ones.

SEC. 5. CRIMINAL PROHIBITION ON DISTRIBUTION OF CERTAIN INFORMATION RELATING TO THE MANUFACTURE OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES.

This entire section is unlawful under the Constitution. This requires getting rid of a lot of library and school text books. The "knowing that such person" will be used on the website owners to say that they know that at least one out of all the X people visiting your site is going to use the knowledge for illegal purposes. It is common knowledge that highschoolers use the anti-drug paraphernalia to find out what dope can get them the most high, so the same thing would logically have to apply.

Other ideas if the bill make some sense, apportioning money to PDs to fight meth, making meth labs clean up after the environmental wrecks they leave behind(I would think they would already be liable), research grants to find out how bad it really is so they don't have to FUD. Ah, but what's this?

`SEC. 423 (a) It is unlawful for any person--
`(1) to steal anhydrous ammonia, or
`(2) to transport stolen anhydrous ammonia across State lines,

Yeah, what with the lack of laws against stealing stuff right now. After we get done with anhydrous ammonia we'll have to declare the stealing of aniline dye to be illegal, and then we've got to write a law against stealing animals, and then anime, and... Well, that last one can wait a little while longer.

`(A) to carry out school-based programs concerning the dangers of abuse of and addiction to methamphetamine and other illicit drugs, using methods that are effective and science-based,

*mufflemubmblemublmblebm*sexual harassment panda!

including initiatives that give students the responsibility to create their own anti-drug abuse education programs for their schools;

Student-run drug programs? "Dude, like we did that Mexico shit, and it's like totally lame, but the Humboldt shit was sweet and all, y'know.."

A) if the offense created a substantial risk of harm to human life (other than a life described in subparagraph (B))

Legalese. Don'tcha just love it? *sigh* You see stuff like this, and you don't argue why Clinton had to ask what the definition of is is.

It's interesting to see that the ACLU is completely fucking clueless. They think the way to convince a congressman of their argument is to spam them with the exact same message over and over and over again. Y'know, there's something to be said for presentation of an argument.

Re: I'm against drugs, but this law sou... (none / 0) (#12)
by DJBongHit on Fri May 19, 2000 at 12:11:36 AM EST

I'm against drugs, but this law sounds like it would be highly unconstitutional. Let's see what we've got...

I'm not trying to start an off-topic discussion here, but how can you be against drugs and be for other types of freedoms? The government shouldn't tell us what to say, so why should they tell us what to put in our own bodies? Like I said, I don't want to start this discussion here. If you want to continue it, take it over to Smokedot and we'll continue it there.

Think about this. Can you put up a webpage advertising anything else illegal such as burglary services, assassin for hire, etc? Well, yes you can. You would be what we'd call an idiot, because if your page is serious it counts as probable cause. But that doesn't change the fact that people have the right to freely admit their criminality.

This is something completely different. An analogy to this would be a site which offers the sale of drugs. A site offering information about drugs, etc., doesn't fit this category.

Other ideas if the bill make some sense, apportioning money to PDs to fight meth, making meth labs clean up after the environmental wrecks they leave behind(I would think they would already be liable), research grants to find out how bad it really is so they don't have to FUD. Ah, but what's this?

This part of your argument I agree with wholeheartedly. The government needs to stop saying all drugs are equally bad - they need to make the distinction between pot and heroin, for example. See this comment I posted on Smokedot, I said it much better there (I'm tired now and I have a calculus final tomorrow, so I'm not very coherent right now.)

It's interesting to see that the ACLU is completely fucking clueless. They think the way to convince a congressman of their argument is to spam them with the exact same message over and over and over again. Y'know, there's something to be said for presentation of an argument.

Indeed. They need to encourage people to say their own thing rather than just having people send the same message verbatim.

Anyway, I'm off to bed now. You can assume I agreed with the parts of your post I didn't quote and respond to.

Wish me luck on my final tomorrow :-)

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Re: I'm against drugs, but this law sou... (none / 0) (#16)
by FlinkDelDinky on Fri May 19, 2000 at 02:20:45 AM EST

Hey, if this law goes through will your handle be against the law?

Good luck on yor exams!

[ Parent ]

Re: I'm against drugs, but this law sou... (none / 0) (#17)
by DJBongHit on Fri May 19, 2000 at 07:56:32 AM EST

Hey, if this law goes through will your handle be against the law?

Heh. Goddamn government.

Good luck on yor exams!

Thanks, man :-)

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Re: I'm against drugs, but this law sou... (none / 0) (#19)
by rusty on Fri May 19, 2000 at 09:44:20 AM EST

Just wanted to point out that you can be against drugs, and still for the freedom to talk about them, use them, sell them, etc. It's pretty clear to anyone who has their eyes open that the US policies of criminalization and prohibition have not worked, and will continue to not work. Eventually we'll all wake up from this long nightmare of the "war on drugs" and start worrying more about how many kids are dying due to impure substances and gang violence, funded by drug money, and less about what our neighbor may or may not be putting in his veins. Enough is enough. Decriminalization is not an easy job, but it's going to have to be done sooner or later. This is not a war that is winnable.

And yet-- I still would be very concerned if one of my close friends started doing heroin. In that way I am "against drugs", but for freedom. Take care not to confuse personal issues with political and legal ones here.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: I'm against drugs, but this law sou... (none / 0) (#21)
by DJBongHit on Fri May 19, 2000 at 12:23:29 PM EST

Just wanted to point out that you can be against drugs, and still for the freedom to talk about them, use them, sell them, etc.

True.

It's pretty clear to anyone who has their eyes open that the US policies of criminalization and prohibition have not worked, and will continue to not work.

I think that's obvious to many politicians as well, but they don't want to risk their political careers by being known as the ones who ended the war on drugs, which a good majority of the American public doesn't have a firm understanding of. For example, my mother believes that the war on drugs is a good thing and is working. I've had this conversation with her before, and she thinks that the war on drugs is decreasing drug use and crime. I just don't see why she doesn't understand the damage it's causing, no matter how many times I explain it to her (and she's a professor at MIT, too. No idea how that happened :-)

Eventually we'll all wake up from this long nightmare of the "war on drugs" and start worrying more about how many kids are dying due to impure substances and gang violence, funded by drug money, and less about what our neighbor may or may not be putting in his veins. Enough is enough. Decriminalization is not an easy job, but it's going to have to be done sooner or later. This is not a war that is winnable.

Very true. Unfortunately, the group that is most vocal about this is the "concerned mother" type who, like I said, think that the war on drugs is a good thing, it's just not being handled properly. They're fighting for harsher prison sentences for drug offenses and things like that. They don't understand the deeper issues at work - decriminalize drugs and crime would drastically go down (since smoking pot would no longer be a crime.) I agree with you that decriminalization wouldn't be an easy task, but it must be done.

And yet-- I still would be very concerned if one of my close friends started doing heroin.

Me too - but on the other hand, there's a huge difference between marijuana and heroin, but both are classified as Level 1 Controlled Substances by the U.S. government and share the same penalties. Marijuana requires a level maturity to use responsibly, and I don't understand why people would ever do heroin, so I think there should be an age limit to buy them, but they shouldn't be illegal.

BTW - I think the age for any intoxicating substance should be 16 and the driving age should be upped to 18. That would allow people to use these substances, become familiar with them, and then start driving. But that's a whole different issue.

In that way I am "against drugs", but for freedom. Take care not to confuse personal issues with political and legal ones here.

Well put.

By the way, I was just bitten by the <a href bug again - the URL was too long to fit on one line with the <a so it converted it to plain text.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Re: I'm against drugs, but this law sou... (none / 0) (#22)
by rusty on Fri May 19, 2000 at 12:34:41 PM EST

I just fixed the A HREF bug, I think. Wait, let me try one more:

does this work?

Yep. seems to. :-) Look at source if you're unclear why the above is a test.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: I'm against drugs, but this law sou... (none / 0) (#23)
by DJBongHit on Fri May 19, 2000 at 12:39:54 PM EST

Ok, if this works then it's fixed (this is what I tried before.)

Anyway, this and this are the links I was trying to cite in my last post - posts on Smokedot that are talking about this issue.

Yup, looks like it works. Thanks!

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
More background here (3.00 / 1) (#13)
by greenplato on Fri May 19, 2000 at 12:11:52 AM EST

The Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Actbill was recently mentioned in this Loompanics essay.

I especially enjoy the the line:

"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."


The bill is even worse. (5.00 / 1) (#14)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri May 19, 2000 at 12:47:10 AM EST

Hidden in this particular bill is an expansion of what federal agencies can do with search warrants. They will now be allowed to conduct clandesine searches, without notification, in order to copy documents and computer files, and only have to serve notice months later. Just making sure that this is mentioned, Apuleius

Australia (none / 0) (#25)
by kraant on Fri May 19, 2000 at 09:05:30 PM EST

I dunno about the rest of the world but the worst similar situation I can think of that happened here was when a student union got in a lot of trouble over a sholifting article

To keep up with free speech issues in australia read Electronic Frontiers Australia"

As a side issue I can see the net becoming a lot less US centric as far as it's physical structure goes if this bill does suceed

daniel - reporting from the trenches ;)
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...

A Republican from Utah (none / 0) (#26)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon May 22, 2000 at 01:52:51 AM EST

I'm not all that surprised to find out that the bill was written by a Republican from Utah.

Chris Cannon is a 51-year-old Mormon with a law degree from Brigham Young University. I guess that explains his apparent lack of respect for the United States Constitution. After reading the bill, I'm stunned he was able to graduate law school at all. But, then again, it was Brigham Young where they probably teach you not to adhere to any U.S. law which runs counter to the conservative agenda.

Bill Threatens Privacy, Free Speech of Americans | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!