Data retention mandate removed from Lamar Smith’s child protection bill

In Lamar Smith’s latest draft of H.R. 1981, or the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 ( S. 1308 in the Senate), the anti-privacy data retention mandate is quite noticeably absent.

H.R. 1981 may not have garnered the negative attention of SOPA, PIPA and ACTA, but its data retention mandate, as laid out by Rep. Smith (King of Tyrants), was never a good idea. The data retention mandate would have forced ISPs to maintain a massive data vault (at considerable financial cost to ISPs) available to the federal government at all times. Naturally, it provoked its fair share of privacy concerns.

As the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) reported in February of this year, “The mandates would impact hundreds of millions of individuals who have no connection whatsoever to the sexual exploitation of children or any other criminal activity.”

Many civil liberties organizations, including EFF, ACLU, Demand Progress, worked to raise concerns over the legsilation, and tens of thousands of voters contacted their representatives to express their displeasure with H.R. 1981. For now, the American people can count one more victory for internet privacy.

As EFF notes, though, the battle isn’t over. “[T]here are data retention mandates to be fought around the world, state level bills could crop up, and it’s quite possible Congress will try its hand at mandating data retention again in the future.”

Stay vigilant.