Legislature Flier Against HB150

Representative Brian King, the sole committee vote against HB150, asked me to bullet point the problems with HB150 so he could distribute it in the legislature. This is what I wrote for him. Feel free to refer to this when calling and writing your representatives.


1. It is unconstitutional. The 6th Circuit Court has ruled that lack of a proper warrant and probable cause for the disclosure of email from an Internet Service Provider is unconstitutional. To whit from Warshak v. United States, “facially violates the Fourth Amendment by simple virtue of the fact that it authorizes the seizure of personal e-mails from commercial ISPs without a warrant and on less than a showing of probable cause. “ HB150’s disclosure of IP address and email address of customers without warrant could be considered the same as email disclosure, since an email carries this information regardless of content and is the only place that information can usually be retrieved from.

2. It is ripe for abuse. The Fourth Amendment was written to protect the innocent. Its purpose has been repeatedly demonstrated in the face of overreaching government and those who abuse power. HB150 expands the reach of government.

3. There is no accountability. Under HB150 an Internet Service Provider is required to turn over customer information to law enforcement agencies without judicial oversight. The argument that “new technologies” requires “new techniques” is not an excuse to violate the privacy of law-abiding Americans. HB150 does not require a law enforcement agency to keep copies of their individual subpoenas, only the “number” of supoenas are reported to a third party, the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.

4. It is anti-business. Burdensome regulation against Internet Service Providers, making them a wholesale detective arm of law-enforcement is punitive against small ISPs and favors large ISPs with more resources. There are no nationwide ISPs headquartered in Utah and this law will help drive the already struggling small Utah-based ISPs under. Yahoo has already published their price list for violating your personal privacy. Smaller ISPs are more likely to protect your privacy as long as the law stands with them, they don’t have the money to fight a court battle in your favor.

5. The current system works. Internet Service Providers are currently required to respond to proper search warrants, as is any other business or individual. HB150 is a bill in search of a problem, which instead creates a much larger anti-Constitutional violation. Even more concerning, criminal evidence gathered under HB150’s guidelines are subject to “suppression” (exclusion in a court case) due to the lack of proper warrant and may give opportunity for real criminals to walk free.

Thank you! – Pete Ashdown – XMission

Utah Senate and Nuclear Power

Today at 2:00PM, the Utah Senate Public Utilities Committee will consider a joint resolution expressing support for nuclear power in Utah. This is the letter I sent to Public Utilities Committee chair, Steve Urquhart.

Hello Steve, I’d like you to consider a few points in relation to nuclear power in Utah.

1) The Atlas Tailings Pile, left behind by the free market uranium mine, to be cleaned up by taxpayers, still hasn’t been cleaned up in Moab.
2) There isn’t a nuclear plant in operation today that exists without government subsidy. They receive government protection for operation, and according to the residents of Delta I talked to, their local government failed to protect the IPP in a staged attack.

As I see it, Aaron Tilton should be able to do the following before beginning construction of a nuclear power plant in Utah:

1) Pay for it by himself, with no government subsidy or protection forever, with the same rates I pay for water.
2) Guarantee safe waste storage and mine clean-up for 10,000 years with a trust that will last that long.
3) Guarantee safe working conditions, respirators, and lung-cancer treatment for the miners who will mine and refine his “clean” uranium.

It would be nice if he cleaned up Atlas too. Maybe SJR16 should express appreciation to the taxpayers who are going to clean it up.

Best Wishes,



Aside from my previous endorsement of Senator Obama for President, there is one other prime endorsement I want to get out before election day.

When I received the invitation to serve on the Tracy Aviary board a few years ago, I warmly accepted because it had long been one of my favorite places in Salt Lake county. My mother brought me there frequently as a child to teach me about the natural habitat of birds. As an adult board member, I am fully aware of the struggles Tracy Aviary continues to face. As one of the two oldest aviaries in the country, much of the facility is in disrepair and in desperate need of an update. Proposition 1 on the Salt Lake County ballot will grant much needed funds to Tracy Aviary so it can continue its mission of ecological education. Please “Save the Aviary” by voting “YES” on Proposition 1.

There are some great state and county officials on the ballot this year. There are even a handful of Republicans who I have much respect for. However, with the super-majority GOP legislature ramming through such winners as school vouchers and the Omnibus Education Bill, along with overriding Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon on the Soccer Stadium, my endorsements go to only the Democrats this year. If you have time to spare today and on Tuesday, please consider helping local Democratic candidates and the Obama campaign.