All week long there's been talk about how Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez wants internet companies to retain user data for two years, for purposes of government investigation. Europe recently put similar requirements in place, ignoring the serious questions about costs (leading some to suggest now might be a good time to invest in storage companies). Not surprisingly, the talk from earlier this week wasn't just talk, but a preamble to a supposedly secret meeting today that resulted in no actual agreement (doesn't seem very secretive does it?). Of course, for years, we've been repeating the reasons why data retention makes things worse. It adds more data, but makes it much harder to find the useful data. At the same time, there's a very high likelihood that if the data is available, it will be misused. And, that, of course, doesn't even touch on the question of how this probably violates the 4th Amendment. However, now that the meeting hasn't resulted in "voluntary" data retention rules, it's probably only a matter of time until someone introduces legislation to require such retention -- despite the fact it's unlikely to help, extremely expensive and most likely unconstitutional.
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