U.S. House Judiciary Committee approves new ISP data retention bill

house judiciaryToday a U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved a new piece of legislation that would force Internet service providers to save logs of all their customers’ activities for 12 months, on the off chance that the data might aid future police investigations concerning child pornography. The H.R. 1981 bill passed with a 19-10 vote with more Republicans voting for it than Democrats.

Proponents of the H.R. 1981 bill have titled it the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011. It’s believed by some that the legislation will help lift law enforcement out of the “dark ages”. Agents will be able to subpoena IP information instead of needing a court-ordered warrant. Investigators will have a further leg up when identifying child porn distributors and users since the bill ensures that the “footprints of predators are not erased,” according to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan believes the bill is mislabeled. “This is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It’s creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes,” he says.

Rep. Lofgren of California, a leading Democrat in opposition to the bill said was a “stalking horse for a massive expansion of federal power.”

A last minute rewrite of the controversial bill made it so that Internet providers are required to store customers’ names, bank account numbers, IP addresses, credit card numbers and home addresses. CNET points out that a previous version of the bill from May required ISPs to retain temporarily assigned addresses for 18 months unless the address was transmitted by radio communication.

Currently, ISPs routinely discard log files not required for business, such as fraud prevention. However, the exception is due to the 1996 Electronic Communication Transactional Records Act where police or any governmental entity can make ISPs hold a record they have in their possession for 90 days. Providers are also required by a 2008 Act to report any child pornography transmissions they gain knowledge of. It may be worth noting that Australia is pushing for similar ISP control to crack down on child predators.


What’s the best way to stick it to Equifax? Make them work for you

If you're among those whose data was compromised by the Equifax data breach, you're probably not going to get the $125 promised by the FTC settlement. If you want to make Equifax pay, you're better off choosing free credit monitoring.

The IRS is cracking down on people who didn’t pay taxes on Bitcoin earnings

If you've been trading Bitcoin and haven't been reporting your earnings to the IRS, you might be getting a surprise in your mailbox. By the end of next month, around 10,000 people are expected to get letters from the IRS.

This magic box stops hackers, advertisers, ISPs, and everyone else spying on you

The Winston Privacy Filter is an unobtrusive little box that you plug your router into, and it promises to protect your online activities from hackers, advertisers, Internet Service Providers, and everyone else looking to snoop on you.
Home Theater

CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox sue Locast, a free, nonprofit TV streaming service

In a story that his highly reminiscent of the legal battle that ultimately took down Aereo, Fox, CBS, ABC, and NBC are jointly suing Locast, a nonprofit that streams these TV channels for free over the internet.
Smart Home

Amazon is about to kill off its press-to-order Dash button

Amazon's diminutive Dash button is about to die. The ecommerce giant has said that from the end of August, customers will no longer be able to use its press-to-buy button to order products from its shopping site.

Apple Card applications have opened for a lucky few enthusiasts

Apple is getting into the credit card business. Apple Card is a credit card you can sign up for directly on your iPhone, and it doesn't have fees. There's a lower interest rate and you can even get Daily Cash from all purchases.

Microsoft Edge can now read webpages to you with more natural-sounding voices

Microsoft Edge has developed more natural sounding voice options for its screen reader feature, Read Aloud. You can test out the new voices by downloading either the Dev or Canary builds of Edge.

Were they really that bad? Here are the 10 most disliked videos on YouTube

Ever wondered which videos are the most disliked videos on YouTube? Well, we have the top ten list you’re looking for. Here are the latest videos with the most dislikes currently on YouTube.

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual-monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't mean you have to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual-monitor wallpapers for you.

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. The best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier than ever, but choosing the right tool to use isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our three favorite tools.
Small Business

The 15 best tech jobs boast top salaries, high satisfaction, lots of openings

The bonanza of tech jobs just keeps coming. High-paying tech jobs abound at companies where people love to work. If you’re ready to make a change, this is a great time to look for something more fulfilling.   

If you work in an office, you should know how to recall an email in Outlook

If you're an outlook user who sent an angry email and really wish you hadn't, then you're in luck. There are ways to recall that email, but you'll have to act fast. Here's how to recall an email in outlook.

Tired of paying? Here are 4 ways to use Microsoft Office for free

Many of us need to use Office apps from time to time — but we may not want or need to pay for a constant subscription. Fortunately, there are ways to get those services without paying. Here's how to get Microsoft Office for free.