Apparently the word has been spreading that the DOJ has been quietly whispering to ISPs about data retention, which — coupled with expanded warrantless searches of PATRIOT II — would put big brother in the thick of the Internet. Radley Balko is . On the other hand, Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy seems to think that this is overblown backroom talk about theoretical possibilities. I’m mixed on the immediate ramifications and lean more towards Kerr on this one, but on a longer timeline this kind of has me concerned.
Nevermind the logical implausibility of capturing every single packet on the router level, storing it in multiple-terrabyte (or more) databases and trying to data mine that — something even Google would be hard pressed to accomplish. Instead, let’s focus on this as a possibility perhaps 10 years down the line, when the technology to do this could actually catch up and data mining would be trivial.
What bothers me most isn’t the privacy concerns here, it’s the very likely possibility that the FBI could create a program that flags you for pre-emptive arrest based on likely characteristics and behavioral analysis of previous criminals, and chalk up your detention to “the greater good”.
Your ISP as Net watchdog [CNET News]