11 May 2011

"DOJ Wants to Make ISPs Keep Data on Your Internet Use"

Reason: Hit & Run | Jacob Sullum | DOJ Wants to Make ISPs Keep Data on Your Internet Use

Politico reports that the Justice Department wants Congress to make Internet service providers store data about their users for a specified length of time to facilitate federal investigations:
I find it deliciously ironic that the DOJ is aftercompanies like Google and Yahoo and Apple for collecting data about users without their explicit approval while simultaneously requiring ISPs to collect data about users without giving them any choice in the matter.

Sullum's conclusion is on-point:
Opponents of the Clipper chip, an encryption system with a government-held key that the Clinton administration wanted to mandate for telecommunications, used to ask whether we should all be forced to hand over over house keys to the local police, just in case they need them, or keep our window blinds up at all times to facilitate government surveillance. If those demands are unreasonable, why is it OK to insist that our ISPs keep track of us and save the records, just in case the government wants them? The argument for CALEA was that the government just wanted to keep the capability it historically had to listen in on phone conversations upon obtaining a warrant. Yet the statute now applies to email and other forms of communication that did not exist when wiretap law was developed. Likewise the DOJ's new legislative proposal. Why assume that Internet users must be trackable simply because phone lines used to be tappable?

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