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FBI Renews Push for ISP Data Retention Laws 179

mytrip brings us a story about the FBI's efforts to make records of users' activities available to law enforcement for a much longer time. Several members of Congress also lent their support to the idea that such data retention should be mandatory for a period of up to 2 years. Quoting: "Based on the statements at Wednesday's hearing and previous calls for new laws in this area, the scope of a mandatory data retention law remains fuzzy. It could mean forcing companies to store data for two years about what Internet addresses are assigned to which customers (Comcast said in 2006 that it would be retaining those records for six months). Or it could be far more intrusive. It could mean keeping track of e-mail and instant messaging correspondents and what Web pages users visit. Some Democratic politicians have called for data retention laws to extend to domain name registries and Web hosting companies and even social networking sites."
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FBI Renews Push for ISP Data Retention Laws

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  • ...they are MY government.

    At least I thought this is supposed to be 'my' government. If it were, then why can't I see everything they are doing? Why when documents are 'declassified' is 90% of the text blanked-out?

    It's for my own good? Well, how can I refute that when I have no evidence, and no evidence can be obtained.

    One of those double-binds, eh?

  • by kurt555gs ( 309278 ) <kurt555gs&ovi,com> on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:40PM (#23175804) Homepage
    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. "

    Now , where was that? , I can't quite place it, maybe it was in a fairy tale my mom read me as a child?

    Oh well, I know that I remember it from somewhere.

  • I'm against this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bryansix ( 761547 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:42PM (#23175828) Homepage
    I'm against this not because of the privacy implications but because government shouldn't make it more expensive for a business to run by requiring them to keep information that is of no value to them past a certain period of time.
  • Re:democrats? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Uncle Focker ( 1277658 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:43PM (#23175834)

    Also lending their support for data retention were Rep. Ric Keller, R-Fla., who said that Internet chat rooms were crammed with sexual predators, and Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the senior Republican on the House Judiciary committee and a previous data retention enthusiast.
    This law has bipartisan support. Anyone who is trying to paint this as if only one side or the other pushing it is just playing politics. Not to mention this idea was originally pushed by our wonderful friend Alberto Gonzales.
  • by Uncle Focker ( 1277658 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:46PM (#23175868)
    You mean just like how the NSA is limited by the 4th amendment from snooping on U.S. citizens? Oh wait...
    Please, they'll bypass the 4th amendment any time they want to get access to the data.
  • Double Standard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pfleming ( 683342 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:49PM (#23175898) Homepage Journal
    So the administration that can't keep its own email records in accordance with Federal Law wants to pass a NEW Federal Law mandating that all of OUR records be retained for 2 years?
  • by peipas ( 809350 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:50PM (#23175910)
    Most things that stay classified are probably just to hide hemorrhaging incompetence.
  • by EMeta ( 860558 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:56PM (#23175966)
    Not that I agree with the proposal, but it doesn't relate to the 6th Amendment particularly. The FBI wants the ability to get a warrant for the information if they find they may need it, up to 2 years later. ISPs would imply alter where they put these numbers to permanent storage (if they don't already; they very well may).

    The significant dangers of this proposal come from the FBI (and others) not abiding by constitutional protections. The fact that this proposal would make it easier for them to do bad things doesn't change the inherent constitutionality of the proposal.
  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:56PM (#23175974)
    Oh please. Are you serious? The President routinely ignores laws that apply to him already, via "signing statements". You really think that our Congressmen wouldn't include a loophole that their communications couldn't be archived? C'mon.
  • by doctorfaustus ( 103662 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @04:59PM (#23176010) Homepage
    There you go... Maybe we can defeat this new initiative by showing politicians that their own emails would be retained as well... As the parent implies, politicians hate transparency above all else. In Missouri, for example, Governor Blunt decided the open records act didn't apply to his office's email. Too bad for citizens trying to keep their eye on things.... One wonders what we'll find if those emails are ever able to be reconstructed. (Yeah, they were deleted too....) Now maybe if the ISP had been forced to retain them?
  • Re:ok... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PoliTech ( 998983 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:00PM (#23176018) Homepage Journal
    Great, another Unfunded Mandate, but instead of bankrupting your friendly state or local governments with no funding to pay for the requirement, they are going to start hitting the citizenry directly.

    ISPs will simply pass the cost of maintaining and storing all of that data right to their customers. Never mind the privacy implications.

    What Political philosophy attacks perceived weakness of democracy, corruption of capitalism, promises vigorous foreign aid as well as aggressive military programs, and undertakes federal control of private business and economy to reduce "social friction"?

    I won't supply an answer because I'm already flirting with Godwins Law.

  • Re:democrats? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EMeta ( 860558 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:07PM (#23176074)
    Forced detention is also a crime against man. But it can be used to prevent greater crimes. [If used responsibly with rehabilitation as a primary goal, etc.] I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the access to phone records by police agencies has done more good than harm over the last 40 years. IP information is certainly of the same type.

    That said, I don't think this proposal is prudent. Our major law enforcement agencies have not shown themselves to be trustworthy of late, and our congress does not seem to have the will to stop their abuse. Therefore the only rational choice would be to deny this proposal, as it is at the time being likely to do more harm than good.
  • by QCompson ( 675963 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:10PM (#23176114)

    "Records retention by ISPs would be tremendously helpful in giving us a historic basis to make a case on a number of child pornographers who use the Internet to push their pornography" or lure children, Mueller said.
    This would also be tremendously helpful in compiling a complete profile on anyone law enforcement or the government deems to be suspicious or suspected of committing a crime.

    The potential for abuse here is huge. Mueller is trying to distract politicians and the pitchfork-wielding public with scenarios where John E. Pedophile is able to be apprehended because the FBI can see he visited thanks to the wonders of data retention. But imagine how much information about our lives can be gathered from our ISP records... private medical information, marital problems, embarrassing yet legal sexual predilections, books we read, videos we rent, political groups we favor, and on and on. The government will be able to obtain a vast amount of private and personal information after they gain access to years of our ISP records. And with 4th Amendment loopholes like national security letters in existence, there's no guarantee that this information will only be accessed upon suspicion of serious criminal activity.

    The end just doesn't justify the means. The FBI seems to be doing a fine job in stopping the production of child pornography with the data retention policies that are in place. Are there any child pornography websites on the internet anymore? Are child pornographers really "pushing" their product on random internet users? Of course, no one knows the answers to these questions, and it is impossible to independently verify the government's claims without putting yourself in jeopardy of facing severe criminal charges, but it seems doubtful that child pornography is such a rampant problem that it requires opening up a pandora's box of privacy concerns.
  • by zymano ( 581466 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:19PM (#23176192)
    Either the gov wants to track a few people or they want to track everyone. Giving this kind of power when not in wartime is irresponsible. I could see a judge letting them check on certain profiles but EVERYONE???


  • by ivanmarsh ( 634711 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:21PM (#23176216)
    Here's a little advice for all you ISPs out there: The records were accidentally erased and the backup tapes were accidentally destroyed.

    If it's good enough for Cheney it's got to be good enough for you.

    I'm really beginning to hate my government!
    (Now you make sure to keep this statement on record for at least two years there Cowboy Neal).
  • by Duradin ( 1261418 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:21PM (#23176222)
    Politicians make the laws so they don't have to be subject to them.

    It would be madness to expect them to be subject to the same laws that we, the masses, are.

    We drink and drive and we get a ticket, jail time and sky high insurance rates.

    They drink and drive and the cops give them a ride home.

    We kill someone and it is jail time.

    They kill someone and they get re-elected.

    Social order would be destroyed if there weren't paragons of non-virtue standing tall upon the backs of the masses.
  • by Odin's Raven ( 145278 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:35PM (#23176332)

    It might sound trite, but as long as the FBI behaves like a child, it should be treated like a child. Right now it seems like if we give them a baseball bat for little league then the next morning all the mailboxes along the street are smashed. If we lend 'em the car keys so they can go to youth prayer sessions, two hours later we're getting a phone call about how they wrapped the car around a telephone pole as they tried driving to the liquor store after getting thrown out of the local bar. And what's particularly galling is that they come back afterwards and ask if they can have a new Porsche because the old car doesn't go fast enough.

    Let the FBI go a year without abusing their existing powers before they even get to ask for anything new. (Child equivalent: "No dessert until you clean your room.") Or use a more immediate reward/punishment system - if anyone abuses any privilege, the agent responsible is disciplined and the situation rectified (evidence tossed, etc). Otherwise the whole agency loses that privilege for a week the first time, a month the second time, then six months, then a year, etc. (Child equivalent: "If whoever threw that spitball doesn't fess up, the entire class is getting detention.")

    I mean, seriously, it seems like my two-year old nephew has a better understanding of rights and responsibilities than the FBI does.

  • by okmijnuhb ( 575581 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:41PM (#23176382)
    Don't forget the word "unreasonable" in the context of this current administration. The fact, is there is not much they consider unreasonable.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:42PM (#23176398)
    That sounds like a good idea, but the last time someone tried for fork Project America, there was a good deal of bloodshed. The Project America leads tend to act like Theo when they get crossed...
  • Re:democrats? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:44PM (#23176422)
    Forced detention is also a crime against man. But it can be used to prevent greater crimes.

    no, the 'end justifies the means' is EXACTLY how we got into iraq and other quagmires.

    sorry, but I have to strongly disagree. some freedoms should be so basic as to be BEYOND a power-grab for politicrats and police-creatures.

    if we keep this trend up, even a quiet whisper between friends will not have any privacy protections to it.

    the gov NEVER has a 'right' to wiretap or spy. I feel so strongly about this, but sadly few others seem to care. and that's exactly the slippery slope that we are on right now. no one seems to value privacy to the level we once HAD.

    technology should never remove basic human rights. the right to convey a thought, privately and NOT have it come back to haunt you later should never be taken away. people should have the right to communicate freely. why would you think otherwise? are you brainwashed by the 'think of the children!' idiots??
  • Re:democrats? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @05:48PM (#23176462)
    you did hit on a key issue.

    yes, our (and every!) LEO dept out there loves this new power grab.

    yes, it will be highly abused. we will have no say in how we are targeted by politicos with an agenda.

    the fact that its conceivable (or even directly experienced!) that LEO will abuse this is reason to not give it to them.

    not every 'crime' must have a trampling of citizens' rights. I believe rights are far more important that 'zero tolerance'; and ZT is exactly the goal of modern governments.

    ZT is harmful and yet we keep fueling LEO with more and more tools that they can abuse to no end. wasn't PATRIOT scary enough??
  • Project America needs a serious rethink.
    Like a Ron Paul.
  • by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @06:33PM (#23176866)

    >At least I thought this is supposed to be 'my' government. If it were, then why can't I see everything they are doing?

    Well there's a pretty solid argument that the state has a compelling interest not to disclose certain things,
    because some disclosure can be detrimental to efforts to enforce laws, and because some disclosures could and
    would violate the rights of some people. Your desire for transparency does not supersede the rights of others
    to privacy from you, and you do not have a right to know the details of every investigation.

    I understand that government agencies often abuse the secrecy with which they have been entrusted, but I also
    agree that government *must* be given significant latitude in this regard, in order to be functional.

    Probably if you give it some thought, you can come up with a pretty good list of things that you don't mind the government knowing about you, but that you would not want shared with anybody who thinks it should be disclosed to them "because government should be fully transparent."

    >Why when documents are 'declassified' is 90% of the text blanked-out?

    Why don't you realize that people who actually deal with documentation and FOIA requests know that 90% number is pulled out of your ass, not based on genuine experience?
  • by ScreamingCactus ( 1230848 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @08:04PM (#23177440)
    Dear Technical Support: I recently upgraded from The Govt OS ver (beta) to the latest release, Govt ver, and I noticed a few unexpected changes. For one thing, I have noticed that many of my favorite programs (most of which are the reason I bought the OS to begin with) will no longer run, or only run in a crippled state with most of their features disabled. These include Bill of Rights v1.17, Due Process v3.02, and Privacy v6.9. I've also noticed that this new Govt ver 2 is full of bloatware like Evil Coporation 6, Big Brother v19.84, and Bush Administration v2.0. I opened task manager and noticed that Govt 2 has spawned several background processes, like War.Iraq, Phone.Tap, and Irresponsible.Spending, which seem to be interfering with my previously installed programs. I've been thinking about going back to Govt 1.7, but the uninstall feature doesn't work. Please help, Worried Citizen Dear Worried Citizen: This is a common problem. What most people don't understand about Govt v1.7.7.6 is that it really wasn't an OS. It was merely an extension built on the backbone of the previous OS, WeThePeople. Govt v2.0.0.8 has completely phased out WeThePeople, and now runs standalone (much like the upgrade to Windows 98). Unfortunately it is not possible to uninstall this OS as it overwrites the boot sector. We suggest installing background applications Pay_Taxes and Support_Troops. Although these processes will help to smooth operation, every so often you will have to run the command C:\Vote. While this command may help to reset corrupted processes, unfortunately this OS is still not designed to run your older programs. However, Govt 2 comes with it's OWN version of these these applications, combined into a suite called Illusion of Security, which attempts to emulate some of those features. Warning! Do not, under any circumstances, install Anarchy 3.1, this program causes irreversible damage to the OS. Good luck, Fox News
  • by queenb**ch ( 446380 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2008 @11:14PM (#23178798) Homepage Journal
    Why is it that I think VPN just became the new digital equivalent of the tin foil hat?

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer