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Myth vs. Reality

 

 

Myth

Provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allow for arresting U.S. citizens without a warrant or due process, and can be held indefinitely.

 

 

 

Reality


The NDAA's detention policies do not apply to U.S. citizens.


The Heritage Foundation, a widely-followed, well-respected conservative policy center, makes this clear in a recent white paper, available here.

 

 

 

Myth


Provisions in the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) allow the government to "control" the Internet and shut down sites like Facebook and Google.

 

 

 

Reality


SOPA applied only to foreign websites, and only to foreign websites engaged in illegal activity.


The bill was just the latest variant in a series of proposals he and colleagues have worked on over the past several years. The goal was/is the same concise mission: Extend existing domestic law to be able to go after foreign websites engaged in illegal activity, be it selling sub-standard counterfeit car parts or prescription drugs, pirating unlicensed music and movies, or trafficking in child pornography.


A website had to be foreign AND be engaged in illegal activity for the proposal to even apply to the situation. (Some cite the government's recent take down of illegal file-sharing site Megaupload as negating the need for added law enforcement legislation. But while operating overseas, Megaupload was registered in the U.S.)


Having taken supportive and opposing comments, suggestions and questions from various perspectives into careful consideration over the course of 2011, Congressman Smith in January suspended further committee consideration of the proposal until and unless wider consensus can be reached on how to best crack down on illegal activity conducted on foreign websites.

 

 

 

Myth


"Lamar Smith lives in Massachusetts in a mansion on the ocean." (Or some variation of this falsehood.)

 

 

 

Reality


Lamar Smith lives in San Antonio with his wife, Beth, in an unassuming house near Ft. Sam Houston.


He owns a fractional interest in a rental house in Massachusetts. The house has no driveway, garage or ocean view. He tries to go there for a family vacation in August, and the house is rented out the rest of the summer and available for rent the rest of the year.