“The explosive idea of forcing Internet providers to record their customers’ online activities for future police access is gaining ground in state capitols and in Washington, D.C.” is how Declan McCullagh’s article at CNET begins. The key thrust of the article was at Homeland Stupidity:
Congress has been considering requiring Internet service providers to record the activities of their subscribers, store the data and make it available to government officials upon request.
Dragging out the “child porn” red herring again, the Bush administration and Republican members of Congress are pushing for requirements for ISPs to store data on subscribers, all the way up to recording everything each subscriber does online.
The first requirement that law enforcement officials want is for ISPs to keep a record of which Internet address is assigned to which subscriber at what times. Many ISPs reassign Internet addresses to subscribers based on which subscribers are actively using the network at a given time. The practice makes for more efficient usage of scarce addresses, but law enforcement officials complain that it frustrates investigations.
Obviously, online providers are balking at the idea — as should all Americans. From McCullagh:
Internet providers generally offer three reasons why they are skeptical of mandatory data retention: first, it is not clear who will be able to access records of someone’s online behavior; second, it’s not clear who will pay for the data warehouses to be constructed; and third, it’s not clear that police are hindered by current law as long as they move swiftly in investigations.
Both articles make for interesting (and scary) reading.
In a followup article,some pretty good general information in the latest security tips in keeping the government out of your online activities.