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FBI Pushing For 2-Year Retention of Web Traffic Logs 256

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the build-a-better-proxy dept.
suraj.sun writes to tell us that the FBI is pushing to have ISPs keep detailed records of what web sites customers have visited for up to two years. Claiming a desire to combat "child pornography and other serious crimes," the FBI and others are pressing for increased data retention, which they have been doing since as early as 2006. "If logs of Web sites visited began to be kept, they would be available only to local, state, and federal police with legal authorization such as a subpoena or search warrant. What remains unclear are the details of what the FBI is proposing. The possibilities include requiring an Internet provider to log the Internet protocol (IP) address of a Web site visited, or the domain name such as cnet.com, a host name such as news.cnet.com, or the actual URL such as http://reviews.cnet.com/Music/2001-6450_7-0.html. While the first three categories could be logged without doing deep packet inspection, the fourth category would require it. That could run up against opposition in Congress, which lambasted the concept in a series of hearings in 2008, causing the demise of a company, NebuAd, which pioneered it inside the United States."
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FBI Pushing For 2-Year Retention of Web Traffic Logs

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  • by ravenspear (756059) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:13PM (#31039468)
    Seriously is child pornography going to be trotted out for EVERY encroachment on privacy that we have to endure year after year?

    It's getting so old.
  • Think of the kids (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:14PM (#31039482)

    Claiming a desire to combat "child pornography and other serious crimes" the FBI and others are pushing for increased data retention, which they have been doing since as early as 2006.

    ahh the old think of the kids line. It always works and people never have the guts to say that some things don't simply protect kids.

  • Evidence Already? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:15PM (#31039498) Homepage Journal

    Will the FBI give us some evidence already that mandatory retained data has been essential to actually solving some significant fraction of crimes, or some convincing evidence that its lack is the only reason some significant fraction goes unsolved?

    Without that evidence, their insistence on invading our privacy instead of protecting it as they're instructed by the Constitution that gives them their powers should just be laughed at.

  • This just in: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by honestmonkey (819408) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:18PM (#31039558) Journal

    All stores and restaurants will have to keep logs of every customer that comes in, whether they buy anything or not, including full video of them while they were in the store. Microphones must be set up at every table in the restaurant to record all dinner conversation. All of this data must be kept for ever and a day, and available to anyone who appears to be in law enforcement. Why is real life any different than the web?

  • by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:27PM (#31039646)
    When the bread has gotten stale enough, the government will open up a new loaf. This decade and the last were child porn, the decades before were drugs, the decades before those were communism. Hitler was not a phenomenon. He just knew how to keep the loaf fresher than most governments do.
  • by InsaneProcessor (869563) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:27PM (#31039648)
    The logs should be kept only for those willing to pay for it. This is an unrealistic legal requirement that the ISPs have the right to refuse.
  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:27PM (#31039660) Homepage
    If logs of Web sites visited began to be kept, they would be available only to local, state, and federal police with legal authorization such as a subpoena or search warrant
  • by florescent_beige (608235) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:28PM (#31039664) Journal
    until someone offers $100,000 to a $15/hr tech to give them two years of Senator X's browsing records. After that, it will have "served its purpose" and will "no longer be in the public's interest".
  • by eln (21727) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:33PM (#31039742) Homepage

    Seriously is child pornography going to be trotted out for EVERY encroachment on privacy that we have to endure year after year?

    Yes, because it works so well. Just try passing "The Invasion of Privacy Act of 2010" and you'll get laughed off the Senate floor. Present the exact same bill, only change the title to "Child Protection Against Predators Act of 2010" and it'll pass easily. If you can link your bill to child porn, then everyone who even dares to say a word against it is instantly labeled as a supporter of the sexual abuse of children. This is because whenever you say anything about child porn or child predators, the entire electorate completely loses the ability to think rationally and responds in a completely emotionally reactionary way. Emotionally reactionary people are extremely easy to manipulate.

    It's sort of funny how so many people who decry the loss of civil liberties in the name of "socialism" will gladly give up their civil liberties in the name of "protecting children".

  • by swschrad (312009) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:33PM (#31039748) Homepage Journal

    and in the event somehow that the devil intervenes to allow this to come true, the feds should pay to store the data. pay the upfront money to build the servers and the additional air conditioning and power, pay the maintenance money to hire techs and buy tape and repair the machines and run a 24x7 watch on the center. and pay all legal, recovery, and processing fees for every single request.

  • "Won't Get Fooled Again"

    We'll be fighting in the streets
    With our children at our feet
    And the morals that they worship will be gone
    And the men who spurred us on
    Sit in judgement of all wrong
    They decide and the shotgun sings the song

    I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    Then I'll get on my knees and pray
    We don't get fooled again

    The change, it had to come
    We knew it all along
    We were liberated from the fold, that's all
    And the world looks just the same
    And history ain't changed
    'Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war

    I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    Then I'll get on my knees and pray
    We don't get fooled again
    No, no!

    I'll move myself and my family aside
    If we happen to be left half alive
    I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky
    Though I know that the hypnotized never lie
    Do ya?

    Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

    There's nothing in the streets
    Looks any different to me
    And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
    And the parting on the left
    Are now parting on the right
    And the beards have all grown longer overnight

    I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
    Take a bow for the new revolution
    Smile and grin at the change all around
    Pick up my guitar and play
    Just like yesterday
    Then I'll get on my knees and pray
    We don't get fooled again
    Don't get fooled again
    No, no!

    Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

    Meet the new boss
    Same as the old boss

  • Monitoring is good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:45PM (#31039878)

    I have an even better idea. Let's have all law enforcement officials be required to wear audio and video recording equipment at all times, which are available for all citizens to watch. They do work for us, after all, and I think this would help curb police brutality. I know that most officers are good people, but there are a few bad apples, so we can't be too vigilant.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:45PM (#31039880) Homepage

    Seriously though, what happens when you don't use the dns provider of the ISP (either running your own, or using a 3pd DNS provider)?

    I'm using Google's open DNS, but the ISP could still figure out where I was going. Which means the FBI can track anyone who doesn't know how to use TOR. And I'm guessing one of those three letter agencies figured out a man-in-middle type attack for that. So I guess that means you'll have to do the really nasty surfing at McDonald's, Starbucks or some other unsecured wi-fi connection.

    Whew, that was tough. I'm sure some of you could come up with even better alternatives. And to put people through that meager effort they're going to require your ISP to keep massive volumes of individually identifiable information for two years.

    Time for the FBI to face up to the fact they're only going to catch the stupid ones.

  • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:47PM (#31039912)

    What you quoted was not quoted nor cited in the article, just printed - it has no value other than being the opinion and/or understanding of the author of the article.

    If the Feds can request phone records using a Post-It note, and web sites continue to say "we will hand over your data to the Feds in the course of investigating a crime", you can bet there will be serious problems *even if they stick to the letter of what you quoted*.

    Feds can ask for anything they want, they just can't demand it. Service providers can turn over data voluntarily if their "privacy policy" says they will.

    This is nothing but a civil rights abuser asking for more ways to abuse its citizens.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:53PM (#31039988) Homepage

    Yeah, I mean it's not like they'd invent some special subpoena [wikipedia.org] that doesn't require any sort of judicial oversight.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:54PM (#31040022) Homepage Journal

    That isn't an argument. That's a contradiction.

    That's why we have to demand evidence. The more we let the police have power without evidence, the more our police state abuses our rights instead of protecting them. A faithy police state is precisely what the Qaeda wants. And exactly the opposite of the government our Constitution creates.

  • by Trerro (711448) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:02PM (#31040134)

    The 4th amendment is supposed to require a warrant to BEGIN surveillance. The law doesn't say "they can tap your phones and record all of your conversations, but they can't actually listen to them until a warrant is issued against you." No, they can't tap until they have the warrant.

    This shouldn't be any different.

    Then again, we all know the results of the last large-scale warrantless wiretapping incident (no one was punished, and it's likely still occurring), so I guess it is, in fact, not any different.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:08PM (#31040204) Homepage Journal
    like destroying the meaning of privacy for all the users of internet?
  • If child molestation is actually your concern, how come we don't see Bradley tanks knocking down Catholic churches?
    ~ Bill Hicks, 1993, referencing the Waco siege

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:10PM (#31040240)
    Seriously is child pornography going to be trotted out for EVERY encroachment on privacy that we have to endure year after year? No, not every encroachment. The wars on terrorism, drugs, and gangs, will be trotted out for many other encroachments. "Terrorism" is already used to restrict your right to anonymous travel. Fighting gangs was used as an excuse for random checkpoints in California. And drugs... will, approximately half the people in jail in the US are there on drug related charges -- trust me, being in jail is a HUGE encroachment on your privacy!
  • by Eldred (693612) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:18PM (#31040332)
    Last I saw, the FBI was abusing their power, and breaking the law, in retrieving phone records without a warrant. This according to their own internal investigation http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/18/AR2010011803982_pf.html [washingtonpost.com]. Do we really believe they will show respect for privacy and the law in this case?
  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:20PM (#31040364)
    Or, you could require all windowless vans to be registered with the state -- oh wait, they already are! And it's not much help in tracking down predators due to the SHEER VOLUME OF DATA one must go through... anybody expect tracking all internet access to actually be useful, given it generates several orders of magnitude more data?
  • by davidwr (791652) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:32PM (#31040502) Homepage Journal

    In New York at least, phone companies have to keep transaction data for 2 years. I think this is a nationwide requirement but I'm not sure.

    The feds will argue that URLs are like phone numbers, and since they aren't actually requiring the ISPs or web sites to log the bits that went over the wire the feds don't see a problem.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:48PM (#31040674) Homepage Journal

    I don't get your connection between Capone and convicted child porn consumers.

    Capone actually committed lots of crimes. But getting evidence was difficult, because everyone involved was either scared Capone would kill their whole family etc, or was themself guilty of the crimes (and possibly getting rich from it), or both. Tax evasion required no witnesses, and only the evidence obtained in one raid of a double book accounting that showed Capone was earning lots of income - none of which was reported.

    Child porn consumers are typically guilty of only consuming child porn.

    I understand the general principle you're pointing at: making a big deal over one crime, because it's convictable, as a standin for conviction for a lot of other crimes, which determine the penalty at the judge's discretion. But tax evasion was a real crime, too, and child porn consumption doesn't catch "real criminals". The parallel isn't at all strong.

    It's probably true that the FBI is using "catching child porn consumers" as a pretext for spying on everyone, regardless of how many of us are child porn consumers, regardless of the FBI's actual interest in child porn. But that has practically nothing to do with Capone.

    BTW, you talk like child porn that's 70 years old is harmless to the subject, because they're old now. But it's not. Published pictures of someone being exploited while a child are harmful to that person for their whole life, and beyond. The exploitation when taking the pictures is damaging, and deriving value (entertainment) from the product of that damaging crime is wrong, according to the "fruit of the poisoned tree" principle underlying much justice.

    It's true that "child porn" that doesn't depict an actual underage person is not really "child", and there's a lot of trumped up arguments designed to abuse everyone's rights, to enforce morality that has nothing to do with children, or both. Cartoons and actors pretending to be children shouldn't be prohibited by the state.

    But people are so irrational about sex, about media, about children, about defending our rights, about deferring to authority, that when they all come together into "crackdown on child porn" there's every kind of injustice in demand.

    That doesn't mean we have to surrender to irrationality and injustice. But it's a lot to keep properly in order.

  • by ISoldat53 (977164) on Friday February 05, 2010 @07:40PM (#31041160)
    Who knows what the 4th Amendment means anymore? With this Supreme Court any Constitutional Law you may have learned is useless.
  • by Trerro (711448) on Friday February 05, 2010 @10:47PM (#31042618)

    There's a key difference, however.

    Although both logs will reveal everywhere you've been, a phone record reveals ONLY that - who you called, not why.

    URLs, on the other hand, usually include variables that reveal things such as exactly which articles you clicked, and exactly what you searched for. Even worse, they can easily be used to break post anonymity - all they have to see is that you loaded the post form, and upon submitting it we're directed to a post with ID X, and they know exactly what you posted by simply loading that post.

    At BEST, this is invasion of privacy. It can be far worse, however. Imagine, for instance, you're the guy trying to blow the whistle on a corrupt senator, and you know that in posting your evidence, your ISP will have no choice but to permanently record the link between your actual identity and that post. "Chilling effect on free speech" doesn't even begin to describe that.

    In a more mundane example, when those logs are inevitably leaked, hacked and stolen, or both, it's only a matter of time before what you do on the internet affects your ability to get or keep a job. If an employer wants to get rid of you but you've done nothing wrong, he'll simply pull up something you looked at online... like that random 4chan you clicked out of curiousity 4 years ago.

  • by jcrousedotcom (999175) on Friday February 05, 2010 @11:35PM (#31042912) Homepage
    How is it MS or Logitech's fault your 15 year old daughter popped her titty out to her BF using a webcam? I don't mean to be crass but MS doesn't create CP, bad people and stupid people do.

    You're right on with the "Mom and Dad, watch your kids!" The responsibility lands with the parents, first and foremost.

"The chain which can be yanked is not the eternal chain." -- G. Fitch

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