ONTD Political

Issa Proposes Bill To Keep Congress From Passing Laws About The Internet, Reddit Unsure If Trap

10:52 am - 11/28/2012
Congressman proposes 2-year ban on bills about Internet

In an unusual step, a U.S. congressman is proposing a two-year ban on all new federal legislation regulating the Internet.

Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican from California who has been an advocate for Internet freedoms, has posted online a draft of his legislation, the Internet American Moratorium Act of 2012. The bill would "create a two-year moratorium on any new laws, rules or regulations governing the Internet."

Issa first posted the complete text of the bill Monday on Project Madison, the nickname for a crowdsourcing platform that allows citizens to amend individual passages of legislation by adding or striking language. On Tuesday, he posted a link to the bill on Reddit, the social news site, where users quickly voted it to the top.

"Together, we can make Washington take a break from messing w/ the Internet," Issa said on Reddit, where he also invited users to suggest changes to the proposed bill. He said he will begin taking questions about it from Reddit users Wednesday morning.

Issa is one of the more tech-fluent members of Congress and was an outspoken critic of the Stop Online Piracy Act, which would have penalized websites that host pirated content. That bill died this year amid near-unanimous opposition from the technology industry.

It was not immediately clear whether Issa's moratorium would apply to his own Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act, which would seek to protect U.S. copyrights and trademarks from infringement by foreign websites.

Initial reaction on Reddit to his proposed moratorium was mixed. Some users were confused about what point Issa was trying to make, while others saw the move as a stunt.

"I have a problem with legislation that preemptively ties your hands for years at a time. You can't know what the internet or society will look like in six months, let alone two years, and making it harder to respond to emerging threats or opportunities is an abdication of your responsibilities as a member of Congress," wrote one Reddit user. "This just seems to me to be more cheap political theater, along the lines of Grover Norquist's 'We will never ever ever raise taxes for any reason' pledge."

"The answer is NOT to ban new regulation. We need regulation," another said. "But, I don't believe ANYBODY in Congress has the vocabulary, is intelligent in knowing how the internet or computers work, or has the foresight to put current trends and future technologies together in a context to create those new regulation that protect the internet and it's users/consumers."

Issa's Reddit post had drawn more than 2,000 comments by early Wednesday.

Leslie Horn, writing for Gizmodo, also dismissed Issa's idea.

"Open internet? That's a good thing. But a law that keeps congress from governing? That's not a good thing -- the internet is a big place, and the language of this law is very broad," she wrote. "As it stands now, IAMA is just a discussion draft, meaning it will be a very long time before it's even close to a vote. And while we're for an open internet, a blanket ban is a bad idea. Let's think about this one a little more, Rep. Issa."

When asked why the congressman introduced the bill, a spokesman for Issa told CNN, "After SOPA and PIPA (the Senate's similar Protect Intellectual Property Act), it became very clear that we needed a cooling-off period to figure out a better way to create policy that impacts Internet users, job creators and all Americans."

The spokesman, who asked not to be named, declined further comment Tuesday.


Source 1, source 2, and the Reddit post.

So what do you think, _p? Stunt? Trap? Needs more than 2 years?
sfrlz 29th-Nov-2012 12:51 am (UTC)
I... don't know. I think it is possible to put regulations on the internet without being stupid about it. I don't think the answer to lawmakers being completely ignorant of how technology works is to just stop legislating altogether.
oceandezignz 29th-Nov-2012 12:54 am (UTC)
No. Nonono. Its a trap. Issa is a snake end of story!
keestone 29th-Nov-2012 01:14 am (UTC)
Hey! That is horribly unfair to snakes.
trivalent 29th-Nov-2012 04:38 am (UTC)
To be fair, the original snake was possessed? /cultural reference I believe.
keestone 29th-Nov-2012 05:42 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure Issa doesn't have that excuse. :p
trivalent 29th-Nov-2012 05:48 pm (UTC)
Haha, that's just where my mind went.
keestone 29th-Nov-2012 01:18 am (UTC)
Issa was against SOPA? Wow I didn't know he was capable of saying something that didn't make me want to punch him in the face.

I"m going for "stunt" here though. Congress doesn't need a "cooling off period" it needs education from folks that aren't RIAA lobbyists. (. . .and to pay more attention to people like Bruce Schneier.)
rhysande 29th-Nov-2012 02:36 am (UTC)
I'm in favor of taking a pledge against taking pledges.
randomtasks 29th-Nov-2012 03:14 am (UTC)
Why not ban legislation on the internet until when the generations who grew up with internet/knows how the internet work take office?
aviv_b 29th-Nov-2012 03:45 am (UTC)
I'm not crazy about a long term ban, but on the other hand, I despair at educating people who don't know how old the earth is, think global warming is a farce, believe that rape sperm is different than love sperm, or that a woman will never die from complications during a pregnancy, that Obama is a secret Mooslim and that the US was founded as a Christian nation.

Its going to take a long time for that much stupid to die out.



ebay313 29th-Nov-2012 06:45 am (UTC)
I'm not sure that is really a good idea. As much as SOPA and PIPA are terrible, and so many, many people including legislators are ignorant about how the internet works, I think there are a lot of things that do need more legislation on with the internet and a lot ways laws are not keeping up with technology. I would hate to see this enacted, and then because of that not have laws that could do things like PROTECT people's privacy on the internet (like passing laws against employers requiring facebook passwords and the like), or which fail to protect people because the law doesn't understand the internet (cyberbullying and similar issues).
mingemonster 29th-Nov-2012 07:55 am (UTC)
Ehhhhh.... Technology changes so fast, making it impossible to change laws to reflect that sounds terribly stupid
omimouse 29th-Nov-2012 08:40 am (UTC)
I'm beginning to think that lowering the damn age requirement for the House/Senate/Presidency would be a really good fucking idea.
quixotic_coffee 29th-Nov-2012 01:16 pm (UTC)
"I have a problem with legislation that preemptively ties your hands for years at a time. You can't know what the internet or society will look like in six months, let alone two years, and making it harder to respond to emerging threats or opportunities is an abdication of your responsibilities as a member of Congress," wrote one Reddit user. "This just seems to me to be more cheap political theater, along the lines of Grover Norquist's 'We will never ever ever raise taxes for any reason' pledge."

I think I mostly agree with this. For the most part I do want legislatures to keep their hands of the internet, especially in regards to piracy (which for the record is not really something I support. I know it's really annoying that HBO doesn't let us pay for their service online without subscribing to cable, but that doesn't magically make downloading Game of Thrones OK, and the way people want to go about stopping this is too far and the punishments out of proportion). But things like internet bullying, privacy (requiring someone to give you their Facebook password is wrong), child porn and probably some other things I'm not thinking of need to be legislated, probably more than they are now.
betray802 29th-Nov-2012 03:13 pm (UTC)
Because this is absolutely the biggest thing ol' Darrell's got on his plate right now.

SMDFH
mirhanda 29th-Nov-2012 04:01 pm (UTC)
I think it's a decent idea. 2 years isn't optimal, but it's a start.
caterfree10 29th-Nov-2012 09:12 pm (UTC)
I don't know how to feel about this. On the one hand, most members of congress clearly don't know shit about the internet and need to sit the fuck down until they do. On the other hand, like others have said, there ARE a lot of problems on the internet that do need to be handled like child porn, internet bullying, and piracy (though honestly, if we could work out not having months/years between initial releases in one country and everywhere else, even without subs, that would be lovely and would reduce at least some of the piracy that goes on). I just. I dunno where I stand. It's good in theory, but there are too many things that need to be legislated on to be good in practice.
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