Stop Government From Restricting Internet Freedom

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Target: U.S. Representative Lamar Smith

Goal: End the attacks on global internet freedom

Legislation recently defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives would have allowed the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America to demand any website or content (anywhere in the world) to be disconnected if they claim it has infringed on their copyrights.

Now, very similar legislation has been introduced by Representative Lamar Smith of Texas which would require Internet Service Providers to give the government information about their customers, even without a court order. This would mean that the federal government could legally monitor all online activity.

This is yet another attack on internet freedom and fair use of content, and it needs to be stopped. There are already numerous federal entities that deal with intellectual property, and this bill would create a new Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce, who answers only to the Executive Branch and has no Congressional oversight. This official would then have the ability to assign attachés around the globe, with no limit on the number of these employees who would then attempt to influence other governments on behalf of the entertainment industry and their lobbyists.

Online piracy is certainly a problem, but governments must practice transparency and restraint when enforcing the law, and when advocating for new laws around the globe. Sign this petition to support internet freedom and demand that all legislation of this nature is defeated.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Representative Lamar Smith,

The bill that you recently introduced to create a new Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce with the ability to appoint representatives around the globe is a dangerous proposal. In addition, forcing Internet Service Providers to provide the private information of their customers to the federal government violates citizens’ right to privacy, a cornerstone of our democracy and the freedoms of people worldwide.

Deploying these representatives to propose laws around the globe could quickly come back to haunt U.S. policy in the future, as legislation here at home can also be influenced by foreign laws. Many federal agencies are already actively engaged in policing the internet on behalf of the entertainment industry, and as a small-government conservative, you should be opposed to the creation of more bureaucracy.

Please reconsider this proposal and stop catering to the lobbyists employed by the entertainment industry.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ryan J. Reilly via Flickr

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