That Was Fast! Invasive Email Bill May Be DOA

Well, that didn’t take long at all. Mere hours after CNET reported on how Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy’s amended cyber security bill would vastly increase the government’s power to spy on private citizens, he’s publicly stated he no longer supports it. Taking to twitter, he said “Ideas from many sources always circulate b4 a markup 4 disc., but Sen.Leahy does NOT support such an exception for #ECPA search warrants.”

This change of mind is wonderful, but if you’ll excuse our French, the idea that he did not support the odious concepts he himself wrote into the bill is bullsh*t. Leahy was, after all, one of the architects of last year’s horrible PIPA, the Senate version of SOPA, and he has for years been one of the least reliable Democrats when it comes to supporting online freedom and an open Internet. What is much more likely is that he was unprepared for the mountain of criticism sparked by reports of what his bill would do; conservative, liberal and so-called libertarian groups all piled on. Chances are he was even less prepared for what that kind of criticism means, now that fellow blue dog sellouts like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson have left the Senate.

Clearly mindful of a hostile media and an even more hostile electorate, Leahy followed up his tweet with a more detailed, if squishy clarification. “Technology has created vacuum in privacy protection,” he said. “Sen.Leahy believes that needs to be fixed, and #ECPA needs privacy updates #tech #cnet.” Of course, what the bill he supports will now look like is anyone’s guess. This is the guy, after all, who sought to turn the Internet into the film industry’s personal fiefdom but doesn’t consider it a conflict of interest to appear in several big budget movies. Chances are he’ll find another way to slip something terrible into the proposed legislation.

We’ll keep our eye on this as it develops.


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6 Comments on That Was Fast! Invasive Email Bill May Be DOA


On November 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I certainly wouldn’t vote for him. Between the generally bad ideas and the apparent knee-jerk reactions he has to criticism, I wouldn’t be able to support him. When increased protection was criticized by law enforcement, he changed it to give them what they wanted. When everyone else complained, he dropped his support. While it is good for politicians to listen, it is a bit disturbing how easily swayed he seems to be. It seems like if the wrong people wanted to get him to do something, it wouldn’t be too hard to convince him.


On November 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm


While not turning this site into a politics forum, I think the entire ruckus over at the Republican Study Committee on copyright reform might be interesting for GF readers, especially with the entire nonsense about DRM.

Here’s the study that was published, and then yanked since it contained way too many good ideas to ever survive the political process.


On November 20, 2012 at 4:30 pm

The short of it is tech savy gamers should be writing their Congressman advocating smart ideas on how to proceed with copyright, intellectual property, etc that actually brings forth innovation and quality in things like games. This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue.

Roy Batty

On November 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm

@ Kevin

While I agree I also contented we need to step up ourselves. These people are morons and will listen to the DRM and law enforcement lobbyists every time. They only REACT and are not proactive seeking input from all sides. These people are still the baby boomers who had limited access to computers. At best they are decent users and at worst they are the Gestapo.

When I saw Lamar Smith’s defense of SOPA I thought it was a joke. He basically said “trust me I know what I’m doing”. He never gave specific counter arguments to the concerns that were raised. He either did not know how to counter the arguments or was unwilling to counter them. SOPA died a well deserved horrible death.


On November 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Thanks for posting that article. It was a very interesting read.


On November 21, 2012 at 4:08 am

Good. ACTA next, please. End this snooping toss that won’t do a damn thing to benefit the public.