Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and National Security

ISPs are not cops, and never should be.

The big problem with representative Markey's Net Neutrality bill, is that it bequeaths onto ISPs the power to be police by giving them the responsibility to figure out which users are lawfully using the internet.

For one thing that violates the due process clause of the constitution.

For another it means that ISPs will inherently be able to watch our data... I have a big problem with that. That violates the prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures in the constitution.

Imagine if our roads were being operated and policed by the same company that paved the roads. That would be similar to an ISP laying cables and also policing the network. That simply is not their job, nor is it any of their business.

Also, it severely slows the data down, to look at everything.

If the police have probable cause to consider that some individual or entity is committing a crime, then they should follow due process of the law, and obtain a search warrant from a judge, to tap into just that user, from their residence, without interfering with the integrity of the network for all the (presumed innocent) users who use it.

There should not be a network that is designed, like the one in communist china, to easily be tapped by anybody.


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Similar Ideas [ 5 ]


  1. Comment

    Could you cite your sources? It would help your argument immensely.

  2. Comment
    Dave Kliman ( Idea Submitter )

    @ ddrtatsujin

    could you be more specific? what would you like me to cite a source for?

    Today there was an article about a case that had been going through the courts:

    I think the judge in that case made the smart decision, that it is wrong to get isp's, website owners, server companies, and others who are providing connectivity to police any and all information that passes through their servers.

    This is just basic common sense.

    Can you imagine a road paving company being required to make sure every car that drives on the roads they have built to only drive lawfully? how exactly would that work?

    The kind of result you'd see, is a toll booth at every intersection, where you must get out of your vehicle and be subject to a strip search... just to make sure that you are being lawful...

    the makers of the network have no business looking at what we do, and so it is not their responsibility if somebody does something. it is the responsibility of the person doing something wrong.

  3. Comment
    Nick Davidowicz

    I agree with the author of the original message, but perhaps for different reasons. Law enforcement is an integral part of our government, and the careful balance between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches has been well established over our history. That being said, the enforcement of law resides with the executive branch.

    Businesses and corporations are not expected to determine the legality of the use of their product. In fact this sort of behavior goes against basic business ethics, and I am surprised it has not been more rigorously challenged in court. However, businesses do have an obligation to uphold executive orders to reasonably assist law enforcement and comply with regulations.

    That being said, there are currently no regulations that I am aware which require service providers to record transmitted information, but this could change in the future considering the rise of internet penetration and the inevitable use of the internet for crime. Proper implementation of recording systems, while expensive, should not degrade performance, and hence do not strictly violate the terms of unreasonable search and seizure, which were implemented as a response to prevent the harassment of citizens by the government. They could, however, pose a significant threat to the privacy of users if not properly secured by law enforcement personnel.

    Proper security of these systems should lead to no more privacy risk than other possible attacks, such as signal interception. If you are worried about your own personal privacy, I urge you to look into cryptographical solutions, and avoid non-encrypted services. There is no legislation which prevents citizens from using cryptography to secure their communications. The recording of unencrypted signals could help to stop crime, and so should not be outlawed. But reasonable regulations to protect the privacy of users should be expected.

  4. Comment

    Under telecommunications laws Net Neutrality is perfectly legit and it is the moral thing to do. Even with the recent tragic decision by The U.S. Supreme Court on Citizen's United which undid democracy (despite it emboldening big cable and phone company ISPs to suggest Net Neutrality violates their free speech which is bogus -- by the way as the Internet is more interactive than radio or TV ever were -- it encourages participation, dissent, and democracy.) The Open Internet encourages free speech on the part of users. We just pay a monthly fee for access and have unlimited equal access to all Internet websites but big ISPs want to be able to change all of that. They dislike the idea of being forced to deliver every email message even messages by consumer rights groups criticizing them etc. The Open Internet threatens their legacy business model where in the past they would co-op and monetize technologies for corporate gain at the expense of the public interest.

    Big ISPs like Comcast want to be able to censor what we write in our emails and publish to the Web. Let's say I write an email about Comcast criticizing them for anti competitive, and anti consumer policies and I happen to be using Comcast's email service to send the message. Comcast wants to be able to reject my message because they think its unfair for them to be forced to deliver a message criticizing them.

    When the U.S. Postal Service delivers letters every day to mailboxes they cannot filter out and decide which letters to deliver and which not to. If I want to send a letter to someone they cannot refuse to deliver my letter because they don't like what I have to say. They don't have a free speech right to do such a thing. If the Post Office cannot prioritize and discriminate against what mail is delivered ISPs cannot either.

    The Information Superhighway analogy comparing Internet to our national highways run by the federal and state governments most of which are free of toll booths is also a good one and represents the need for why we need to maintain Net Neutrality. While I admit I am concerned with language that would mandate ISPs to act as copyright cops and police the Net to ensure it is only being legally used -- only legal uses should be protected but don't want an unnecessary and vague exemption for Hollywood etc. Net Neutrality should apply to Hollywood as well and if someone is misusing Internet before discriminating against that user and taking action proof should and must be furnished this is indeed the case -- the mere allegation of illegal activites should not be sufficient cause to discriminate.

    That is why I signed the Electronic Frontier Foundation's petition to the FCC for Real Net Neutrality!

  5. Comment

    Because of the unique position a telecommunications provider occupies, I believe they should be subject to special restrictions to protect privacy, as well as to maintain "checks and balances" on the use of lawful surveillance.

    As there are provisions in law for sealed and (in the most extreme cases) even for classified warrants to be issued, the balances between interests of national security and law enforcement versus individual privacy are already provided for in existing law. Given that the existing laws and protections are sound, and actually promote lawful surveillance under court supervision, it should be unlawful for a provider to violate a subscriber's expectation to privacy without a court of competent jurisdiction ordering it.

    Voluntary compliance with law enforcement, intelligence, and private surveillance requests should not be an option for a telecommunications provider, end of story.

  6. Comment

    I agree that ISPs should not be required to act as copyright cops and go policing the Internet. They have to tread a fine line between users privacy -- if an allegation of copyright abuse is made a proper investigation has to be made to tell if the content being used is not protected under fair use -- about 1-2 years ago Universal Music Group was sued after they got YouTube to remove a video uploaded to their site by a mother sharing a family video with a Prince song being played in the background. The case was titled Lenz v Universal and the Electronic Frontier Foundation came to Stephanie Lenz's defense -- Lenz was the plaintiff of the lawsuit against UMG for sending a baseless takedown notice to YouTube. The video was protected under fair use but removed by YouTube several months after being uploaded upon receiving a complaint of the video possibly infringing UMG's copyright.

    It was outrageous what UMG did -- after the lawsuit was filed YouTube allowed the video to be re-posted on their site and I myself watched it and couldn't even tell Prince music was being played in tbe background -- I heard that music was playing but couldn't hear what song was playing or tell who the artist was by listening.

    I signed the Electronic Frontier Foundation's petition recently to support Real Net Neutrality - telling the FCC to not give immunity to Hollywood on Net Neutrality -- that just because Net Neutrality rules protect lawful Internet use and lawful content from being discriminated against by ISPs with competing content or services does not mean Hollywood should have blanket immunity on this. If any allegation of copyright abuse is made a proper investigation has to be made, the user or users have to properly informed in advance of any action by their ISP against them and have the chance to contest the allegation.

    Thanks to the DMCA any allegation of copyright abuse can quickly get a user's YouTube account suspended or their videos uploaded taken down even if they met the requirements of fair use. This is unacceptable. In terms of stopping illegal activities online government and ISPs must be wary of dangerous hacking activities (in principle I sometimes support the work of hackers who hack a product to make it work better -- like hacking products to add new features to it -- porting Linux to iPhone/iPod, bringing Boxee to hacked Apple TVs etc) to break into someone's computer network to do harm, sending fraudulent spam messages, uploading computer viruses online, malicious behaviors such as this and acts of cyber terrorism should be investigated and the culprits prosecuted. However, for ISPs to go policing the Internet for alleged copyright violations alone is unacceptable and unnecessary.

  7. Comment

    We should actually request that ISP 'polices' as minimally as needed, as ISP is more likely to shut off people from being informed about this website instead of not letting minors have access to pornographic site that pays some dues to ISP companies. If ISP is able to set up preferences or limitation to the access as they see fit, only those who are in top 0.1% in the possession of money will be able to let their let their views known or post their comments.

  8. Comment

    I want the FCC to have one regulatory tool...that which is necessary to preserve the idea that content on the Internet is always delivered in a neutral manner without regard to who owns the content, who requests the content or the nature of that content.

    I agree that the ISP's should not, and as private entities, posses law enforcement capabilities or duties. What is or is not legal should be of no concern to the daily operations of any ISP outside the framework of a legally obtained search warrant issued on probable cause to monitor a specific person suspected of a crime.

  9. Comment
    Dave Kliman ( Idea Submitter )

    One new law to look very carefully at is the IMMI, which is the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative.

    For one thing, among many others, ISPs are completely protected and not at all liabl for anything that happens on their network.

    That would give them the legal framework to leave us all alone, and leave law enforcement to the authorities.

    one of the really dumb things in the disastrous millennium copyright act is that isps and web hosting companies can be held liable for content going through their equipment. really dumb law, designed to chill the internet.