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DOJ Seeks Mandatory Data Retention For ISPs 247

Hugh Pickens writes "Computerworld reports that in testimony before Congress the US Department of Justice renewed its call for legislation mandating Internet Service Providers (ISP) retain customer usage data for up to two years because law enforcement authorities are coming up empty-handed in their efforts to go after online predators and other criminals because of the unavailability of data relating to their online activities. 'There is no doubt among public safety officials that the gaps between providers' retention policies and law enforcement agencies' needs, can be extremely harmful to the agencies' investigations,' says Jason Weinstein, deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, adding that data retention is crucial to fighting Internet crimes (PDF), especially online child pornography. Weinstein admits that a data retention policy raises valid privacy concerns however, saying such concerns need to be addressed and balanced against the need for law enforcement to have access to the data. 'Denying law enforcement that evidence prevents law enforcement from identifying those who victimize others online,' concludes Weinstein." Think about how much evidence is denied to law enforcement by envelopes, opaque concrete, and criminals' failure to shout.
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DOJ Seeks Mandatory Data Retention For ISPs

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  • envelopes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by UnderCoverPenguin ( 1001627 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @09:41AM (#35007676)

    ,quote> Think about how much evidence is denied to law enforcement by envelopes, opaque concrete, and criminals' failure to shout.

    I remember reading (several years ago) about a chemical that can supposedly make paper temporarily transparent .Also, seems to me that graphite and even pen ink might show up on an MRI scan. As for concrete, a portable neutron scanner should be useful to get some idea of what is inside. (No idea if such a scanner would be affordable to any but the very most important cases any time soon.)

  • Re:Warrant? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @09:51AM (#35007802)
    We had a recent incident in the UK where a full armed assault team were sent in to raid a guina-pig hut. The high-powered heaters used to keep the pets warm in the winter made the hut glow in infrared, and a building that hot usually means a small pot farm. So in go the SWAT team, only to find out with great embarassment that there were no drugs to be found. Just comfortably warm guina-pigs. It ended up with the department head having to go to visit the family and give his personal apology for the mistake.
  • Re:Warrant? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @10:18AM (#35008126)

    Most things that the government requires add costs: various forms of record keeping, emission controls on automobiles, workplace safety devices, etc.

    Substitute accountant for ISP and you could make the same argument, including most of the "clever criminals can outsmart law enforcement" argument.

    How is this really different?

  • Time Warner (Score:5, Interesting)

    by inthealpine ( 1337881 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @10:30AM (#35008318)
    I was a stand in security and abuse coordinator for a little less than a year at Time Warner Cable. All it took was a subpoena faxed to the office for us to hand over any data request. A lot of times cops would get pissed because a police letterhead fax wasn't enough, but it takes no time to get a subpoena. Police would try to say they were afraid the data could get purged if they didn't get it now, versus a few hours from now which is BS. I would tell them I already pulled the requested data and had it right in front of me so no worries about it being purged, they were not amused.

    If any expansion of power is needed it should be the ability to have a request to hold data while a subpoena is processed. That is a simple answer, but the government isn't interested in simple answers its intent is to chip away at privacy so it can do whatever it wants whenever it wants.
  • by h00manist ( 800926 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @10:34AM (#35008370) Journal
    I do understand the cops. There is a lot of crime, and there is data available to catch crime, without having to resort to infiltrating organized gangs and risking the life of an investigator. Access to that data that could save a lot of lives and abuse and trouble, but such data collection is prohibited under privacy laws. Now, they must understand the public position if they want data to be able to do their jobs better. Allowing data to be collected is a serious invasion of privacy, basically amounts to strongly reducing rights of privacy, secrecy and anonymity. And the data will certainly leak in lots of ways. So, if they want data on people, they have to give up data on themselves. There is also a lot of crime and abuse that happens within police, government, legal offices, government offices, and corporate offices. The public needs that investigated too. Data can be collected in those places too. Equal rights. Certified collection, storage and authenticity of behavior data on everyone, on all levels, accessible to everyone, on all levels, on equal condition, or no data for anybody. That included everyone. Lawyers, justices, policemen, security officials, corporate employees, executives, their families, dogs, everyone. If you have privacy, I have privacy, if you have data, I have data. If you can read my writing, my reading, and my mind, I can read your writing, your reading, and your mind. And we all want full system auditing rights, too.
  • by melikamp ( 631205 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @11:09AM (#35008778) Homepage Journal
    Child abuse and child pornography have very little in common. If you are a child pornographer, it is virtually impossible for you to be also a child abuser: child abuse is already against the law in every jurisdiction in the world, and if you put pictures of your wrongdoing online, it's like turning yourself in. We all guess that nearly all child abuse is done by parents, who do it without any kind of incentive besides the abuse itself. They don't do it for money, they don't do it to brag. Only the stupidest of them actually take pictures, and the insane ones share them, and it stands to reason that they are also the ones who tend to get caught (another case for non-commercial distribution being legal). We can all also guess that almost all child porn that's out there is done by Russian cyber-criminals, who don't abuse any children themselves, but rather push around badly-cut RARs with compilations of 30 year old photos of children abused by someone else in the past. Of course there must be exceptions, and there are gray areas having to do with the exact legal age, but when it comes to having 8-year-olds participating in sexual acts, the picture is just as above. IMHO, it is a lie that non-commercial distribution of child porn hurts children (abusing children hurts children, and so does child porn production, as so does commercial distribution, and people who engage in any of these should be in jail), and it is true that modern child porn laws are characteristic of a police state.
  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Wednesday January 26, 2011 @11:39AM (#35009136)

    Remember how well this worked with the telcos? When the constitutionality of law enforcement's extra-judicial National Security Letter (NSL) program was called intto question and they (the telcos) were at risk of lawsuits for having turned over data, they went crying to Congress for amnesty. And they got it. So why shouldn't they cooperate? Their down side (pissing off dirty cops) is too great.

    The NSL program continues to this day unabated. And some of these letters and the subsequent data collection isn't in support of criminal investigations. Its for political or even industrial espionage. Want some info on a competitor (particularly if its foreign)? Got a buddy in the FBI? No problem. They'll tap their phone/-email for you.

    I say: All subjects (at least US persons) subject to monitoring shall be served with the warrant or NSL at some reasonable time following the investigation. And no amnesty for ISPs or telcos unless they can be forced to testify against corrupt law enforcement officials in court should those letters be abused by corrupt LE officials.

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury