Sunday, January 22, 2012

Let's End Lamar Smith's Political Career

Update: Reddit is way ahead of me.

Y Combinator is right to be mad, but wrong about the target. SOPA sponsor Lamar Smith is back with an amendment to a child pornography bill (and who would object to that?) which would require ISPs to track your every move online for 18 months:

Each time you use a credit card, each time you read your bank statement, all of your IP information and your search history will be required by your ISP to be stored for 18 months at all times...

While it was legal for the government to issue a subpoena for the viewing of the information they speak about here before, it was not part of the law that internet service providers capture or retain that information at any point. In effect, while before the authorities would need to first find a reason for you to need to be watched to get the ISP to start collecting information from you, that information will already exist on file, effectively meaning you’re being watched and recorded even if you’ve done nothing wrong...

This bill needs to be stopped, and if I might go one better, Lamar Smith needs to be stopped, for the good of the internet and YOUR privacy.

Smith also attempted to expand the DMCA in 2006, again pushing for new wiretapping privileges for police. It's a question whether this guy is trying harder to destroy the Internet or the Fourth Amendment, but imagine how awesome it would be if that was just an academic question about a guy who didn't have a career in politics any more.

The bad news is he's been in office since 1987 and has won his most recent elections with crushing victories. The good news is he's a Republican, and SOPA is wildly anti-business; the other bad news is it may be tough to make that stick, because it's only obvious to the technologically literate. Fortunately, he also he has motivated, successful enemies on his home turf; his district includes parts of staunchly Democratic Austin, and that's because the Supreme Court ordered his Congressional district redrawn after the League of United Latin American Citizens won a gerrymandering lawsuit against then-governor Rick Perry. This probably also means he's extremely corrupt, but it's hard to imagine SOPA coming from anybody who wasn't extremely corrupt in the first place.

Let's all form a political action committee called the Coalition To Defend The Internet From Ignorant, Corrupt Assholes and get contributions from every millionaire in Silicon Valley so we can deep-six this guy so completely "Lamar Smith" becomes a synonym for "no career in politics ever again."

We can use a two-pronged attack; fund Lamar Smith's Republican competitors, and find ways that they can show how pro-Hollywood and anti-business SOPA was (Republicans hate Hollywood), while at the same time also funding his liberal opponents. A Democratic victory in Smith's district is unlikely, but his Democratic opponents probably hate him enough to make some noise, and I think it's extremely likely that Texas is full of younger Republicans who would love to take his place. There's got to be at least one who understands the Internet.