HR1981 forces ISPs to retain customer names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and dynamic IP addresses for eighteen months. The information would be available to police and attorneys upon request. Even civil litigants would be able to access this data.
As ZDNet's Violet Blue states:
"This has nothing to do with porn. In case you’re like the Reps that passed this nightmare and you’ve forgotten: pornography is legal in the United States.Gee, kinda like criminals do not operate withing the laws surrounding guns.
"It is pedophilia that is illegal. But for the sake of harnessing hysteria to get a bill passed, clearly these particular Republicans find it convenient to conflate “pornographers” as pedophiles. Last time I checked in on the matter, pedophiles did not operate within the laws surrounding adult pornography."
Just as with guns, there are plenty of ways to track down pedophiles without keeping 18 months' worth of highly confidential data on every single internet user in the country. As a professional network engineer, I've worked on many investigations ranging from employees behaving badly to kidnappings and serial killers. Not one of those investigations was impeded by lack of this legislation, or would have been advanced by its presence.
HR1981 (1984 would have been a more appropriate bill number) happens to be sponsored by a Republican ostensibly against Teh Ebil Pr0n, but it could just as easily been crafted by Democrats against Tea Party Terrorists. One can't help but wonder whether there's some wink-wink-nudge-nudge going on across the aisle with this one.
As with criminals vs. law-abiding gun owners, the percentage of pedophiles vs. legitimate internet users is microscopic. There is absolutely no justification to collect information on 272.1 million internet users to track down an estimated 10,000 sleazeballs. Just like registering everyone's guns will have no effect at all on violent criminals, but will surely facilitate abuse of the law-abiding.