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Sonic.net's CEO On Why ISPs Should Only Keep User Logs Two Weeks 190

Posted by timothy
from the privacy-has-value dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Dane Jasper's tiny Internet service provider Sonic.net briefly took the national spotlight last October, when it contested a Department of Justice order that it secretly hand over the data of privacy activist and WikiLeaks associate Jacob Appelbaum. But Sonic.net has actually been quietly implementing a much more fundamental privacy measure: For the past eighteen months it's only kept logs of user data for two weeks before deletion, compared with 18 to 36 months at Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and other ISPs. In a lengthy Q&A, he explains how he came to the decision to limit logging after a series of shakedowns by copyright lawyers attempting to embarrass users who had downloaded porn films, and he argues that it's time all ISPs adopt the two-week rule."
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Sonic.net's CEO On Why ISPs Should Only Keep User Logs Two Weeks

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  • by waterbear (190559) on Monday June 25, 2012 @06:44AM (#40436775)

    excellent good sense, what more can one say?

    -wb-

  • Shocking! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday June 25, 2012 @06:47AM (#40436795) Homepage Journal

    It is truly shocking that some people resist the idea of the police state! If for your own good! Think of the children! The only people with anything to hide are terrorists and criminals!

    Face it, folks. The bottom line is, our governments and the corporations that control them, want a police state. They are afraid of freedom, and they will go to any lengths to limit freedom. Badmouthing the president is cause for the Secret Service to put a bullseye on you, and your communications channels. Exposing fraud in the corporate world is reason to haul your ass through the court system, and to take everything you own, along with everything that you might ever hope to own. And, cheating an author out of a dollar of royalties? Phht - ten years in prison sounds about right - to the police state, anyway.

  • by dnaumov (453672) on Monday June 25, 2012 @06:52AM (#40436827)

    Is multi-year log and data retention required by law, as it already is in the EU.

  • by s0litaire (1205168) on Monday June 25, 2012 @06:56AM (#40436851)

    And if more ISP's jump on the 2-week "band-waggon" you'll quickly see one of the next "Defence Appropriations Bill" (or something like that) have a little addition sneaked in by someone in Homeland Security to legally require ISP's to hold 12 months of Logs/Emails.

    Just like what's happening in the UK...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2012 @07:07AM (#40436907)

    Two weeks is sufficient time for ISPs to be able to do things like tracking down abuse and perform troubleshooting/tech support but short enough that a government bureaucracy and/or a gaggle of RIAA/MPAA lawyers would likely not be able to prepare and serve out a search warrant or subpoena in time.

  • Re:Shocking! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Monday June 25, 2012 @07:11AM (#40436917) Journal

    So basically, you are saying that you have something to hide?

    I invite anyone who claims otherwise to install a permanently on webcam in their bedroom so we can get some nice videos of their pet sheep.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2012 @07:26AM (#40437001)

    bring back dynamically assigned IP addresses too.. then I'm sold.

  • Re:Shocking! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday June 25, 2012 @07:27AM (#40437005) Homepage Journal

    Basically - I have things that I hide. I share some strange humor with some buddies. I share intimate moments with other people. I share some silly moments with other people. My life is sort of compartmentalized - as most people's lives are. The people I ride bikes with would see some of my silly moments with little kids in a way that I might not appreciate. And, the females with whom I am intimate wouldn't appreciate having tales spread around town. Think about it. Your parents, your siblings, your buddies, your kids, nieces and nephews, and your workmates aren't interchangeable, are they?

    As for other important matters - perhaps I am working to have a sick criminal representative exposed, impeached, and run out of Washington. Do you think that representative should be empowered to put me under surveillance, with the goal of neutralizing me through blackmail, or murder, or some bogus judicial action?

    Show me a person with nothing to hide, and I'll show you a moron without a life. Retards in institutions have nothing to hide, after all. Are you an institutionalized moron?

  • Re:Shocking! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2012 @07:44AM (#40437075)

    So you're deeply ashamed of who you are and don't have courage or the conviction to own up to your life?

    Most people simply desire privacy. It often has nothing to do with being "ashamed." That can be one (valid) concern, but that needn't be the answer.

    Would you please allow me to install security cameras in every single room in your house? If not, why? Are you "deeply ashamed" of your life?

  • Re:Shocking! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday June 25, 2012 @07:50AM (#40437115) Homepage Journal

    Jailed? Not that I'm aware of. Snooped on? Yes - let me find at least two links to stories that come to mind - - -

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/04/secret-service-investigates-ted-nugent-remarks-on-obama/ [go.com]

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/story/2012-03-23/louisiana-comment-obama/53741346/1 [usatoday.com]

    http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2012/06/terry_jones_hangs_obama.php [browardpalmbeach.com]

    http://gawker.com/5498597/obama-death-tweeter-being-investigated-by-secret-service [gawker.com]

    That should be enough, I would think. I was looking for a couple others - one was a crusty old redneck, the other some black guy from a southern city, each of who made similar comments to those linked to above.

    Before you ask - I think the Secret Service is basically doing the job they are supposed to do, in each of these stories. But - there is a very thin line between doing their job properly, and becoming something like the KGB or the Stazi. Very thin line, indeed. Recent events have shown that the Secret Service is NOT incorruptible. It is improbable, but possible, that the SS could be turned into a tool of the administration to round up people like Ted Nugent, and to "silence" them, in whatever manner. Ted would have to be handled very carefully. Some redneck from Backwoods, Nowhere could just be snuffed, and his family told that he "resisted arrest".

    "Snooped on" is common, these days. No less common than it was during the McCarthy days. Less public than in the McCarthy days, but just as common.

  • Re:Shocking! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Monday June 25, 2012 @07:56AM (#40437151)

    But I do have a lot to be deeply ashamed of.

    You've got plenty to hide, then.

    It's not good, but it's not horrible either. What's going on isn't Big Brother snooping in on your every little detail.

    It would be quite impossible for them to do that to more than a minuscule portion of the population. But it's possible if they the limit it to a few people. I'd rather not have anyone be spied on, even if that someone isn't myself.

  • Re:Shocking! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by awrowe (1110817) on Monday June 25, 2012 @08:05AM (#40437209)
    This is such a bullshit argument! It is not necessary to have something to hide to desire privacy. Government is there to facilitate lawful activity by its citizens, not to oversee every aspect of a citizen's activities. Innocence before proven guilt is the doctrine here. Trotting out the "nothing to fear, nothing to hide" argument just makes you part of the problem.
  • Re:Shocking! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Inda (580031) <slash.20.inda@spamgourmet.com> on Monday June 25, 2012 @08:20AM (#40437307) Journal
    There are people who are happy to share their lives. There are people who are not happy to share their lives.

    I propose we call these people extroverts and introverts.
  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday June 25, 2012 @08:21AM (#40437321)

    Well, they could have been a tiny bit more sincere: "he argues that it's time all ISPs adopt the two-week rule." could be replaced by: "he argues that he'd like all consumers to adopt ISPs that apply the two-week rule."

    We might consider starting to treat CEOs as the people at the top of a system that works by extracting from people the maximum amount of money.

    I'm happy when profit pushes a CEO in the same direction as morality, but let's not mix both. The wind isn't kind when it pushes you to safety and unkind when it pushes you to your death.

    If you want to congratulate someone, congratulate those who teach the public to vote that "two week rule" with their money. Congratulate those who teach because they believe knowledge gives freedom.

  • Re:Shocking! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday June 25, 2012 @08:23AM (#40437347) Homepage Journal

    What do you mean, "If you're right"? Perhaps you misread my post. I said that corrupting the SS into a political tool is unlikely - but possible. You find that to be incorrect, in some way?

    Or, are you just arguing for the sake of argument?

    Anytime a person or collection of people holds power, there is potential for abuse. The sheep don't give it any thought, and certainly don't worry about it. Responsible men and women do think about it - and they start worrying when signs indicate that abuse is growing more likely.

    Today, the potential for abuse is considerably higher than it was when I was a kid. McCarthy ruined careers and reputations. Today's potential abuses can end freedom, and possibly even lives.

  • Re:Shocking! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2012 @08:25AM (#40437361)

    As a human being [wikipedia.org], I have many things I'd like to hide. Human's are complex, social creatures and being able to keep secrets is important to our sanity. Please "think of the humans" the next time you discuss privacy of web denizens.

  • Duopoly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Monday June 25, 2012 @08:29AM (#40437389) Homepage Journal

    If you want to congratulate someone, congratulate those who teach the public to vote that "two week rule" with their money.

    If neither the local cable company nor the local DSL company observes the two-week rule, should people vote with their feet and move to a different city? The consensus last time I asked [slashdot.org] was that moving is not practical.

  • Why Privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aragorn DeLunar (311860) on Monday June 25, 2012 @08:45AM (#40437515)

    Because a government that can search any person at any time can falsely incriminate anyone, and motives for doing so are abundantly self-evident.

    "During a routine anti-terrorism sweep, civil liberties activist John Doe was found to be in possession of methamphetamine, child pornography, explosive-making material, and pirated ABBA songs. He was immediately taken into custody and is being held at an undisclosed location for the public's safety..."

    Right now we have an important check in the form of a search warrant. Before searching me, a law enforcement agent must demonstrate to a judge probable cause that I have committed, or will commit, a crime. It's not perfect, and there are notable loopholes, but at least there is some documentation and accountability.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday June 25, 2012 @08:54AM (#40437577) Homepage

    The Police will soon have a list of all the people who changed ISP after this announcement. People who demand privacy obviously have something to hide.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2012 @09:09AM (#40437699)

    Small ISP here. When I spoke to the Home Office at the time they stated the directive applied only *after* they had expressed interest, i.e. up to that point as a small ISP we need not worry about keeping data.

  • Re:Shocking! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLucless (582312) on Monday June 25, 2012 @09:20AM (#40437771)

    Please post the names, addresses and photographs of every woman you've had sexual relations with. Publish your own home address, phone number, social security number and credit card details. Post a list of every digital purchase you've made, every website you've visited.

    Failure to do so reveals you for the hypocrite you are. Yes, people have things to hide. No, things people are hiding aren't necessarily bad, or any of your freaking business.

  • Re:Shocking! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2012 @09:22AM (#40437799)

    "What's going on isn't Big Brother snooping in on your every little detail."

    That statement is less true with every passing minute

  • by bobbied (2522392) on Monday June 25, 2012 @11:39AM (#40439377)

    This is about money, and not privacy. The major ISP's are starting to fight (and win) subpenas trying to identify their clients, not because they care about privacy, but because it is cheaper in the long run. The ISP in this case is also trying to lower their costs with their 2 week record retention policy. There are three ways this reduces their costs.

    1. Their logs are gone in 2 weeks so those who would attempt legal action will have an impossible time window of 2 weeks to file a case and get the court to agree to their subpenas.. The ISP simply replies checks the time frames specified in the subpena and if ti is more than two weeks ago they reply with a form letter that says "Our records retention policy requires that we delete all logs over 2 weeks old" so we are unable to provide the information requested. Case closed with a form letter, lawyer paid almost nothing. Eventually the folks filing these cases will get the message and stop trying and then you can fire the lawyer...

    2. The labor required to service subpenas will be reduced, both in the technical and legal departments so they can reduce labor costs and save some money.

    3. There will be a slight reduction in disk space required (albeit pretty limited) to store logs. This is not a huge issue for a small ISP, but it might lower their hardware and maintenance costs.

    This ISP is not trying to protect anybodies privacy, and they admit that fact. They will gladly take advantage of PR generated by folks who would see this as a privacy issue in order to get more customers, but this is not about privacy it's about saving money.

  • by Progman3K (515744) on Monday June 25, 2012 @12:39PM (#40440177)

    ISPs should be like electrical companies, gas companies or water-works.

    In other words, yes, keep track of how may kilowatts or liters of your service I used, but not whether I powered my toaster or made coffee, that's none of your business.

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