ICE Raids: Congress Responds

Posted in The Industry,thoughthead,Xbox-Scene by Michael Pica on the October 10th, 2007

Earlier this year the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department raided multiple homes of individuals who had installed modchips in consoles. As you may recall I wrote my feelings on the subject in an editorial titled: The Legality Of Modding. In that piece I did not dispute the fact that what these people did is technically illegal under the DMCA, I simply called to attention that how the law was written was too far reaching and that ICE, in a time where the USA needs it’s greatest strengths put to use on issues such as Customs and Immigration, was instead being abused to harass and dishevel the lives of American Citizens.

I was deeply disturbed by this situation and took it upon myself to write my state’s representative, and senators. I originally wanted to send my correspondences by physical letter signed by hand to help get my point across, however I was unable to find the appropriate address to use such a method and instead passed on my concerns by email. I didn’t have very high hopes for the outcome of my message as when it comes to the US Government I am somewhat of a pessimist. However I also believe that unless I do my part to make my voice heard I have only myself to blame if nothing comes of it. By speaking my peace I can with good conscience lay the blame on those who have listened and remained idle in their actions to right these wrongs.

Read the letter that I sent to House Representative Paul Hodes, as well as Senator Judd Gregg, and Senator John E. Sununu.

The First Reply I got back was from Senator Sununu. The last time I had written this man it was about Net Neutrality and the response I had received to that was something analogous to: you’re wrong, the bill is right, big Telco told me so. My Fiancee had also written a letter to him concerning Net Neutrality and received the same exact form letter response. Sununu’s reply to my letter about the ICE raids was slightly more positive, albeit not by much. Read it yourself; I got the impression that he’s pretty much saying: I’m not even going to bother with this issue unless there is a bill in my face, and even then I might not even bother taking into account your concerns.

The Second Reply I received was from Senator Gregg. He isn’t even technically the senator for my region of the state but I decided to write to him anyway. I was actually quite pleased with the response I received back from Senator Gregg. The basic impression I got was that he took what I was saying to heart, he admitted to not knowing many details of the case but he was going to make an effort to learn more from ICE and that he would be in contact with me if he needed more details. I was quite pleased with the response, though I’m staying cautiously optimistic about whether or not anything will come of it. I’ve heard replies like this before in the corporate world and while good intentions are there it quite often gets pushed aside in the face of more pressing issues. While this is one of the issues I hold closest to my heart, I have no delusions that this likely very much a low priority for nearly all of congress.

The Third reply I received was from House Representative Paul Hodes. Despite the fact that I received Paul Hodes’ response last he was the only one who sent it via email. If I recall correctly I never received a response from him concerning the Net Neutrality issue so I was pleased to see that at least someone read my letter. Though if you read it yourself you will probably find yourself scratching your head in the same way I was. No I did not link the wrong response, and no I have never contacted this man with any interests outside of Net Neutrality and the ICE raids. I really hope Mr Hodes reads this and feels embarrassed by it. Sir, if you are reading this, you are welcome to send me a real response and I will gladly post it here.

I do hope that others who felt as I did about the actions of ICE wrote their congress persons about it. I would very much like to see some of the replies you may have received or at least your thoughts on the matter.

If you neglected to write your congress persons despite your feeling against the actions of ICE then shame on you. If you’re not doing something to get your voice heard while our peers are having their lives destroyed by something that should not be a crime then you might as well be the one raiding their homes.

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