Friday, February 20, 2009

I Hate Data Retention

So I'm already biased against Data Retention in general, as well as pathetic excuses for parents' lack of understanding when it comes to raising children, but this new bill being proposed is nothing short of ridiculous on both fronts.

The bill that is being proposed will require that anyone who provides access to the Internet through temporary addresses (i.e. DHCP) must log the information of anyone who connected through them for two years. This includes ISPs, businesses, hotels, coffee shops, and even your girlfriend (remember that time you set up a WRT54G with a hacked firmware on it so she could piggyback off someone else's wifi?). Okay, your girlfriend only counts if she's running her own DHCP server, but you get the point.

The bill is titled the "Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today's Youth Act," or Internet Safety Act. Now I'm all for protecting kids from being exploited online, but is this really necessary?!? In my opinion, this is completely pointless. What are people with home Wi-Fi going to do? Do we set up a server to log all their traffic? Maybe log the MAC and IP of everyone who hopped on their network? What if their MAC was spoofed? If we don't log their traffic, what can a spoofed MAC tell us about that person?

What does this really accomplish? I suppose it makes people feel better, knowing that the gov't has a fool proof way of catching that guy who's luring your daughter away from the safety of a cofee shop using an untraceable MAC as well as anonymizing tools such as SSH + SOCKS or Tor + Privoxy. Oh wait, that doesn't really help, does it?

Bottom line, for you folks worried about protecting your kids: Use some f***ing parenting! Teach your kids the difference between real-life friends and people they meet in a random chat room. Remember how you told your kids "don't take condy from a stranger"? It's the same f***ing thing! Tell them it's not safe to go meet random strangers on the Internet. Make sure they understand there's no way of knowing the person is safe, just like there isn't any way of knowing that the overweight, balding, coke-bottle-bespectacled, sweatsuit wearing guy isn't really her friend.

And you know what? If your kids can't use the Internet safely for themselves, then it's YOUR responsibility to take that privelege away and only let them use it again when they FEAR AND RESPECT THAT ESCALATOR THE INTERNET! I'm sick and tired of people blaming technology for their own parenting flaws.


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