First they came for the downloaders…

CNET: “The FBI is pressing Internet service providers to record which Web sites customers visit and retain those logs for two years, a requirement that law enforcement believes could help it in investigations of child pornography and other serious crimes.” This is wrong on so many levels, but especially because we already know what the FBI will do with this stuff — play Gestapo with our freedoms. Let me digress.

A survey by MTV and The AP in December revealed that a shocking one-third of U.S. teens have engaged in “sexting,” the sending or receiving of sexually explicit pictures or video via the Web. Here’s the key finding, according to Wired:

Of those who admitted to distributing suggestive images of themselves, about 61 percent report that they were pressured by someone to send the image. Girls were more likely to share a naked image of themselves than boys. Those who are already sexually active were much more likely to send an image than those who were not sexually active.

Most of the respondents sent the image to a significant other or a person of romantic interest to them. But 29 percent said they shared naked images of themselves with someone they knew only online.

So there’s a whole lot of pictures of naked teenagers floating around cyberspace to potentially be used against those who participated, one way or the other. After all, we have laws pertaining to child pornography, for which, let’s face it, this certainly fits.

Matt White, courtesy CBS13Take the strange case of Matt White in Sacramento, the 22 year old man who is headed for jail for “accidentally” downloading child pornography. He’s pleading guilty for a reduced sentence, but he’s going to serve three years and be branded a sex offender for the rest of his life. For what?

Two years ago (that’s right. Let me repeat that: two years ago) White was downloading “Girls Gone Wild” via the file sharing service LimeWire when he says he discovered the images and immediately deleted them. “I’m into girls my own age.”

About a year later, FBI agents showed up at his family’s home. The family agreed to let agents examine the computer, and at first, they couldn’t find anything.

Investigators later were able to recover the deleted images from deep within the hard drive.

“I asked them, ‘Where did you get that? I don’t remember that.’ I asked them, ‘Could I access that if I wanted to?’ ” Matt said. “They said no.”

To throw the book at a young guy for this is evidence of how far our culture has bought into the boogeyman theory of Web users. If the FBI has nothing better to do than destroy lives for something like this, we need to seriously rethink not only the laws but also the duties of those who enforce them. Of course, nobody in any legislative capacity has the balls to step forward and say such, because, after all, we’re convinced people like Matt White are predators who are after our children.

“Well, Terry, cough-cough, this will, ah, cough-cough, have a chilling effect, cough-cough, ah, um, on those who would, ah, cough-cough, prey on our, cough-cough, youth.” Yeah, right.

Where will this end, folks? A deleted file that the cops admit can’t even be accessed by the user is evidence only that it was, at one point in the past, downloaded. Go after LimeWire, if you wish, or one of the hundreds, if not thousands, of “sharing” sites, where evidence of this exists in the here and now. He committed this evil deed when he was 19, for crying out loud. Is he a child rapist in the making? Bring on the gang from Criminal Minds.

And now that teens are filling cyberspace with this “sexting” craze, the FBI is going to need a bigger boat while having a field day knocking on unsuspecting doors years after the fact. And they want ISPs to do their work for them.

People, really. Is this the kind of world we want to live in? First they came for the downloaders, but I was not a downloader, so I said nothing…

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