Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today's Youth Act of 2009 - Balancing Personal Freedom, Business Costs, and Child Protection

Published: 4 Mar 2009

By James Brehm, Senior Consultant, Frost & Sullivan

I was recently asked by a reporter: "So what do you think of S.436 and HR 1076 and what does it mean for unsecured networks and/or hotspots?"

I usually don't get asked such loaded questions that elicit such polarizing responses from people across the country.

From what I know, the bill is designed to protect children from being exploited via the internet and would require commercial ISPs (and by definition commercial Hotspot operators) to collect user traffic and user information for 2 years.

Since I'm not an attorney and haven't read the law in great detail (I read through it once and the legal-eze made my head hurt), I don't think it will affect non-commercial networks; but believe that this bill is designed specifically to stop child predators from using commercially available internet sources from preying online.

Gathering information about usage of public networks is nothing new. Wrought with controversy a few years ago, CALEA regulations surrounding facilities based broadband service providers and interconnected VoIP providers has proven that complying with regulation can be attained. Some do it themselves, while others use Trusted Third Parties (TTPs) to gather and store the information.

Is there an issue with unsecured personal networks? (i.e.: my neighbor across the street who is allowing anyone in the neighborhood to connect to his DSL service.) The answer is "yes". An old joke is that the largest ISP in the world is named "Linksys" because of the number of unsecured Linksys routers in homes around the world.

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