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[Politech] Mandatory 2 year ISP data retention resurfaces

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  • Terry L Parker
    ... From: Declan McCullagh To: Politech Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 2:07 AM Subject: [Politech] Mandatory
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2006
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Declan McCullagh" <declan@...>
      To: "Politech" <politech@...>
      Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 2:07 AM
      Subject: [Politech] Mandatory data retention resurfaces; Gonzales, Mueller
      call for 2-year rule [priv]

      I've been busy at work writing a series of articles about what's going
      on in terms of forcing Internet service providers to snoop on Americans.
      Basically Attorney General Gonzales and FBI Director Mueller met with
      Internet and telecom companies (including Microsoft, Google, Verizon,
      and Comcast) last Friday and called on them to store data about users'
      activities for two years:

      Until that meeting, Gonzales and the Justice Department had been saying
      this would be useful for child porn fighting. Now they've realized (took
      'em long enough) that (a) the stored data would be useful for terrorism
      investigations and (b) it might be politically convenient to pitch it as
      an anti-terrorism measure:

      Companies aren't very happy about this. And of course any such
      know-your-user law would presumably apply to libraries, schools, and
      coffee shops as well:

      Looking ahead a few years, assuming that data retention is adopted, it's
      unclear that the Feds would stop there. Imagine a shocking horrible
      tragedy could have been prevented if only even more expansive laws had
      been adopted on top of data retention. The end game eventually could
      involve (a) making it unlawful to offer Internet access without
      verifying identities, effectively shutting down open WiFi nodes and (b)
      restricting the use of encryption and anonymity services -- after all,
      what good is a pile of retained data if it doesn't tell you very much?

      This is sheer speculation, mind you. But then again a House of
      Representatives committee once approved a bill that would make it
      unlawful to sell encryption products without backdoors for the Feds. And
      Sen. Judd Gregg talked about restricting encryption products soon after
      9/11, so perhaps it's not _that_ unlikely either.

      One other thing worth thinking about in terms of the Washington endgame.
      The Internet providers I've talked to have been generally opposed to the
      idea. But one of their primary complaints is the logical one of how much
      it will cost. If the Feds decide to write them a fat check, their
      complaints could evaporate and the legislation would instantly
      experience far less opposition. Watch for this; it would follow what
      happened with CALEA.

      Here's Microsoft's statement on data retention:

      Or, if you prefer, CNN and USA Today coverage of the topic:

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